Burning City: Poems of Metropolitan Modernity
Edited by Jed Rasula and Tim Conley
Notre Dame: Action Books, 2012
Burning City acts as a "multisensory Baedecker" to the many incarnations of international modernism from 1910-1939. Inspired by the abandoned plans of the early avant-garde poet Yvan Goll to write a history of modernity through the poetry of that era, scholars Jed Rasula and Tim Conley have carried out Goll's project, scouring the small journals and magazines of the period for both lost and seminal texts. Burning City is organized not just according to the cities which inspired the texts — Paris, Cracow, Buenos Aires, and so on — but according to such icons of the modern urban experience as "Cineland," "Music Hall," "Electric Man." Burning City makes a new contribution to anthologies of both poetry and modernism by its thematic focus on city life, by its inclusion of poets from languages and nationalities seldom represented in standard US surveys, and by its preservation of the typographic versatility of the this feverishly innovating period.
"Truly global in its reach, yet local in its exacting particularities, Burning City breaks down the old familiar isms and genre divisions, introducing us to writings we've never seen before, printed side by side with our favorite poems by Huidobro and Musil, Mayakovsky and Mina Loy. In a nutshell, the map of modernism will never be the same!" — Marjorie Perloff
"This wonderful anthology, unprecedented in its reach, at least delivers on the promise of global understanding of modernity. Anyone compelled by film, urbanism, poetry, and the technologies of travel and communication will be enthralled." — John Wilkinson
"Burning City: Poems of Metropolitan Modernity, a remarkable feat of research and editing by Jed Rasula and Tim Conley, contains more than 500 pages of mostly poetry from circa 1910 to 1940 that addresses rapidly changing urban environments and their accompanying technologies: radio, telephone, cinema, and so on. While the book’s introduction might describe this as 'the heyday of the avant-gardes' and their radical artistic and literary experiments, it’s clear from reading the work in the anthology that its writers similarly felt experimented upon by their urban milieus." - Bomb Magazine
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