The Constructivist Moment by Barrett Watten
From Material Text to Cultural Poetics

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As one of the founding poets and editors of the Language School of poetry and one of its central theorists, Barrett Watten has consistently challenged the boundaries of literature and art. In The Constructivist Moment, he offers a series of theoretically informed and textually sensitive readings that advance a revisionist account of the avant-garde through the methodologies of cultural studies. His major topics include American modernist and postmodern poetics, Soviet constructivist and post-Soviet literature and art, Fordism and Detroit techno--each proposed as exemplary of the social construction of aesthetic and cultural forms. His book is a full-scale attempt to place the linguistic turn of critical theory and the self-reflexive foregrounding of language by the avant-garde since the Russian Formalists in relation to the cultural politics of postcolonial studies, feminism, and race theory. As such, it will provide a crucial revisionist perspective within modernist and avant-garde studies.

About Barrett Watten

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BARRETT WATTEN is Associate Professor of English at Wayne State University and the author of Total Syntax (1985), essays on avant-garde poetics. He was the editor of This (1971-82) and co-editor of Poetics Journal (1982-98). Recent collections of his literary work include Frame (1971-1990) (1997), Bad History (1998), and, forthcoming, Progress/Under Erasure.
Published March 1, 2010 by Wesleyan. 364 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Bridging the gap between a poetics that "foregrounds its formal construction"—i.e., sets language apart by fixing it in unintuitive, nonreferential ways —and a poetics that foregrounds a work's relationship to cultural contexts (such as factories, raves, magazines or listservs), Watten, a poet an...

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