Technologies of Expression: Writing Poetry in Postwar America


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines the relationship between experimental poetry and techno-science in post-World War II America. It considers postwar poetry alongside developments in cybernetics—a mid-century science that radically de-emphasized the difference between mechanical and living entities. It argues that postwar poetic and scientific practices, far from representing two rival cultures, were similarly invested in questioning the traditional boundaries between culture and technology, humans and objects, and sentient agencies and inert matter. Although poets from this period are often associated with a spontaneous style of free verse (“open form”), this project claims that their poetry foregrounds the influence that objects, instruments, and tools have on artistic expression.