Digital Danowski “Schooling Donald Allen: Re-Locating Mid-Century Poetry Networks”

Networking the New American Poetry website: https://danowski.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/nnap/

In conjunction with Emory’s Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS), the Danowski Poetry Library (a part of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library) has instituted the “Digital Danowski” initiative, in which the Danowski Poetry Library will be available for use in digital humanities projects. “Networking the New American Poetry” is the first project to be fully developed using the Danowski Poetry Library to place Donald Allen’s New American Poetry Anthology (1960) in its historical context, using print culture to fully flesh out the landscape of American poetry after 1945.

As the research lead for “Networking the New American Poetry,” a data visualization project part of the Digital Danowski initiative, I examined whether Donald Allen’s categories in his New American Poetry 1945-1960 hold up under the scrutiny of places in which these poets were published. Allen organized the anthology by different “schools,” that he thought would be logical ways to understand poetic creation in the middle of the century (see xii-xiii). For this project, we used the Danowski Poetry Library to consider the nature of four schools of poetry: The Black Mountain School, the Beats, the New York School, and the San Francisco Renaissance.

To do this, we examined several journals that are considered representative of each movement or school. We created a database of bibliographic metadata about the publications that made it possible to see how poets and their work intersect. Recording which poets publish where, who edits what works, who dedicates poems to one another, among others, will allow us to see where there is cross-pollination among the different “schools” and possibly give the lie to Allen’s taxonomy. After compiling, these data we used social network analysis to visualize how these different schools related to one another. “Networking the New American Poetry” begins the process of de-centering the understanding of midcentury poetry through its more holistic consideration of poets’ networks of affinities.

Included here is the poster presentation that I gave at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI)  in June 2015. You can also download a copy HERE.