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Palgrave Macmillan

The Poetics of Waste

Queer Excess in Stein, Ashbery, Schuyler, and Goldsmith

Christopher Schmidt is Associate Professor of English at The City University of New York, LaGuardia, USA. He is the author of a book of poems, The Next in Line, and his writing has appeared in Tin House, Boston Review, Arizona Quarterly, The Village Voice, Boston Review, SubStance, and other publications. He has taught at Bard College, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, and the University of Michigan.

Preface: The Charisma of Waste
Introduction: The Poetics of Waste Management
1. Industry and Excess in Gertrude Stein
2. The Queer Nature of Waste in John Ashbery's The Vermont Notebook
3. 'Baby, I am the garbage': Camp Recuperation in James Schuyler
4. Kenneth Goldsmith's Queer Appropriations
Afterward: Poetry, Waste, and the Body Politic


"In this remarkable, illuminating study, Schmidt explores the 'mysterious charisma of waste,' the magnetic pull it exerts on a vital strain of modernist and contemporary poetry . . . Schmidt's brilliant, incisive argument gives us valuable tools for understanding key features of avant-garde poetics – such as fragmentation, collage, excess – in a fascinating new light: as complex, subversive methods of 'waste management.' A timely, provocative, and important book." – Andrew Epstein, Associate Professor of English, Florida State University, USA, and author of Beautiful Enemies: Friendship and Postwar American Poetry
'''Waste matters.' Say what? In this revelatory and often funny study, Schmidt identifies, analyses and celebrates the dreck polluting modernist and postmodernist poetry . . . We'll never think about poetry – or garbage – in quite the same way again.' – Daniel Kane, Reader in English and American Literature, University of Sussex, UK
"Through brilliant uses of Queer Theory, Taylorism and its dietary subset Fletcherism, and much else of theoretical/historical interest, Christopher Schmidt's The Poetics of Waste forges powerful new connections and traces salient divergences among Stein's erotic poetry, Ashbery's undervalued 'scrapbook,' Schuyler's 'camp waste management' and writing by two tantalizingly different Conceptualists. Figuring waste as oppositional resource, queer fertility, Schmidt demonstrates the remarkable volatility of categories like efficiency and excess, reduction and proliferation." - Thomas Fink, LaGuardia Community College, USA and author of 'A Different Sense of Power': Problems of Community in Late Twentieth-Century U.S. Poetry
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