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The Wound and Dream Sixty Years of American Poems about the Spanish Civil War by Cary Nelson

The Wound and Dream Sixty Years of American Poems about the Spanish Civil War

Part of the American Poetry Recovery Series Series


The Wound and Dream Sixty Years of American Poems about the Spanish Civil War by Cary Nelson

When the United States and other powers declined to help fight fascist power at the onset of the Spanish Civil War, forty thousand private citizens from fifty-two countries rallied to join the International Brigade's defense of the Spanish Republic. Born out of the struggle between fascism and democracy and considered the first battle of World War II, the Spanish Civil War holds tremendous ideological significance and has inspired a remarkable range of American poetry. The Wound and the Dream represents the sixty-year tradition of American poetic responses to the Spanish Civil War and provides an overview of progressive American poetry as a whole. Four of the featured poets - Alvah Bessie, William Lindsay Gresham, James Neugass, and Edwin Rolfe - were members of the International Brigade. Their poetry appears alongside lesser-known works by some of the greatest American poets of the twentieth century, including Wallace Stevens, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Randall Jarrell, Langston Hughes, and Philip Levine. Cary Nelson's introduction discusses the collective nature of the poems, puts them in their international context, and provides a sturdy framework for interpreting the Spanish Civil War as a historical conjecture that has dramatically altered the ways we read and write poetry. The book also includes a brief biography of each poet and a glossary of related terms.


Nelson has produced a beautiful complement to Madrid, 1937: Letters of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from the Spanish Civil War (1996), which he coedited. Nelson includes an excellent introductory essay, which, in its focus on the cultural work poems can do, offers a critical perspective strikingly different from the new critical approach one finds in such works as Marilyn Rosenthal's Poetry of the Spanish Civil War. These poems represent an important poetic tradition outside of canonical US modernism, a tradition of political engagement in which history is not merely background material of the stuff of imagery and metaphor. -- G. Grieve-Carlson, in Choice, Feb. 2003

A breathtaking collection of U.S. poetry responding to the Spanish Civil War that will surely attract international attention. Not only does Nelson bring forgotten voices back into our consciousness, but he also reaches out and demonstrates the impact on writers not normally associated with 'the last great cause.
Alan Wald, author of Exiles from a Future Time: The Forging of the Mid

-Twentieth-Century Literary Left

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

29th July 2002


Cary Nelson

More books by Cary Nelson
Author 'Like for Like'


University of Illinois Press


344 pages


Poetry anthologies (various poets)
Literary studies: poetry & poets
Literary studies: from c 1900 -



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