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Primal Ear: Roethke, Wright, and the cult of authenticity [US]:
On August 22, 1957, Pete Rademacher fought Floyd Patterson in Seattle for the world heavyweight championship. In the stands that day were two boxing fans from the English Department of the University of Washington: Theodore Roethke, a forty-nine-year-old professor, and his twenty-nine-year-old student James Wright, who was celebrating the completion of his Ph.D. [...]

Yet Roethke and Wright were unusual in their early and intense mistrust not just of modernism but of the whole idea of poetic sophistication. Each was the product of a decidedly unliterary Midwestern setting—before Wright, the last writer to emerge from Martins Ferry, Ohio, had been William Dean Howells—and retained a lifelong suspicion of cleverness. To justify their calling, they had to insist that poetry had more to do with authenticity than with artistry. [...]
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