Paul Blackburn

(1717 words)
  • Jonathan Curley (College of New Jersey)

Paul Blackburn is one of the lesser recognized but most significant 20th century American poets. Adapting the oratorical style of Walt Whitman and developing a personalized poetics of consciousness and observation which rejects formalism, closure, and narrative linearity for immediacy, contingency, and the swerves of sensation and subjective surprises, he is most closely linked to Charles Olson and the Black Mountain School, although he roundly rejected the designation. Blackburn’s achievement is the liberation of lyrical verse from overly standardized articulation, sentimental flourish, and a mode of easy and light arrangement. In his grasp, the lyric relies on colloquial, questing expression, a seeming casualness which s…

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Curley, Jonathan. "Paul Blackburn". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 May 2009
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Black Mountain poets