Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in English



First Advisor

Jaime L. Harker

Second Advisor

Ann Fisher-Wirth

Third Advisor

Daniel Stout

Relational Format



This thesis explores the poetry of Joe Brainard and Anne Waldman, two poets of the critically neglected second-generation New York school. I argue that Brainard and Waldman help define the emerging discourse of postmodern poetry through their attention to cold war culture of the 1970s, countercultural ideologies, and poetic form. Both Brainard and Waldman enact a poetics of vulnerability in their work, situating themselves as wholly unique from their late-modernist predecessors. In doing so, they help engender a poetics concerned not only with the intellectual stakes but with the cultural environment they are forced to navigate. Chapter 1 explores Brainard's I remember and the Bolinas journal, arguing that his queer phenomenological approach to writing defines the early forms of postmodernism. Chapter 2 investigates the feminist poetics of Waldman and her engagement with performance and politics as a way to offer a new kind of poetics intent on plurality. The conclusion of this thesis looks at the notion of democracy and the postmodern poet, questioning the necessity for a political poetics and its utility in literary, cultural, and American history.



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