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Blake, Duncan, and the Politics of Writing from Myth

Linda Freedman

William Blake and the twentieth-century American poet Robert Duncan have a natural affinity. Both were profoundly interested in the penetrative mobility between the temporal and the eternal. They also have an affinity as poets who used their mythopoeic forms to explore the ethical boundaries between self and other and to relate that exploration to the violent politics of their respective historical moments. For Duncan and his coterie, Blake was yoked with Whitman; they were old male bards of the prophetic tradition, mingling visionary poetics with homosexual and homosocial freedoms. This article argues that if we look at the way Duncan read Blake and we read both poets alongside each other, we arrive at a better understanding of the involvement of politics with hermetic vision.

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