Cover image for The San Francisco Renaissance : poetics and community at mid-century
The San Francisco Renaissance : poetics and community at mid-century
Davidson, Michael, 1944-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Physical Description:
xvi, 248 pages ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS285.S3 D38 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The San Francisco Renaissance is the first overview of this major American literary movement. Michael Davidson recounts its emergence during the postwar period in the San Francisco Bay area as defined by poets such as Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Duncan and William Everson, and then as it blossomed into the literary excitements associated with the Beat movement and with writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Individual chapters are devoted to major writers of the period and to their involvement with social and political change during the Cold War era. Davidson's penultimate chapter deals with the largely neglected context of women writers during this period, and the final chapter deals with poetry since 1965.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Davidson offers an excellently conceived synthesis of literary criticism and cultural history and analysis. There are chapters on such central figures as Kenneth Rexroth, William Everson, Robert Duncan, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Jack Spicer. Also included is a useful chapter dealing with the important but virtually ignored contribution of women writers involved in an environment dominated by misogynistic attitudes; particular attention is paid to the work of Helen Adam, Joanne Kyger, Judy Grahn, Diane DiPrima, and Denise Levertov. The closing chapter focuses on developments in the Bay Area since the death of Jack Spicer in 1965; in this context, the work of Robert Hass and Lyn Hejinian are emphasized. The volume includes a wide-ranging introduction dealing with the generative myths of the period, in addition to a discussion of the conflicting poetics, and of the sense of community and performance that prevailed among the writers. Thorough notes are included. This volume is recommended for all collections of contemporary American poetry. -L. Berk, Florida Keys Community College

Table of Contents

Introduction: enabling fictions
1 The elegiac mode: rhetoric and poetics in the 1940s
2 'The darkness surrounds us': participation and reflection among the beat writers
3 'Spotting that design': incarnation and interpretation in Gary Snyder Philip Whalen
4 'Cave of resemblances, cave of Rimes': tradition and repetition in Robert Duncan
5 The city redefined: community and dialogue in Jack Spicer
6 Appropriations: women and the San Francisco renaissance
7 Approaching the fin de siFcle