Erin Joyce Kappeler F'12
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2012
Shaping Free Verse: American Prosody and Poetics ,1880-1920
This dissertation uncovers a forgotten tradition of poetics in American literary history. It argues that literary scholars in the late nineteenth century abstracted social relations into verse traits and turned a set of ideas about racial and national identity into the genre of free verse poetry. The dissertation analyzes popular poetic theories in the late nineteenth-century American academy; details the process whereby Walt Whitman was constructed as the father of free verse poetry; analyzes the role that anthologies of the so-called new poetry played in creating the genre of free verse; and examines the ways in which Poetry magazine's readers resisted the newly genericized metrical conventions of free verse experiments.