Charles Reznikoff (2114 words)

  • Ranen Omer-Sherman (University of Miami )

Charles Reznikoff’s early 20th century urban poetics has had a profound influence on the ethical as well as ethnic expansiveness of American poetry. A wide range of contemporary poets, including Charles Bernstein, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg (who in late career sought to claim Reznikoff as a sort of poetic-father), and Elaine Feinstein were profoundly influenced by Reznikoff’s incisive arrangement of detail, extraordinary understatement, and compassionate voice. At various times, these poets have admired the anti-essentialist quality with which Reznikoff demonstrated the way a poet of “common experience” might challenge the Wordsworthian notion of “voice” as common language, and introduce a …

Omer-Sherman, Ranen. "Charles Reznikoff". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 April 2004
[, accessed 29 April 2017.]

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