Soillure, Bomb Blasts, and Volcanic Chaos: Reading the Poetry of BLAST

in BLAST at 100
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This essay argues that, despite the disparate concerns and stylistic idiosyncrasies of its various contributors, the two volumes of BLAST can be read together as a single collaborative poem. In fact, reading them closely while at the same time situating them within broad literary and artistic contexts poses a substantial challenge to the very category of “poem” as well as to the notion of single authorship. Tracing the magazine’s recurring motifs of destruction, the essay identifies a prevalent disgust with the slow processes of natural decay, an ambivalence towards the violence of manmade machines, and, in particular, an awe-inspired regard for seismic chaos. Reading this admiration in relation to a later tendency to mythologize the enterprise’s short-lived nature, the essay concludes by speculating upon the implied aesthetic that any worthwhile work of art must bear within itself the risk of its own destruction.

BLAST at 100

A Modernist Magazine Reconsidered

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