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Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem$
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Michael O'Neill

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198122852

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122852.001.0001

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‘The Knowledge of Contrast, Feeling for Light and Shade’: Amy Clampitt's ‘Voyages: A Homage to John Keats’ 1

‘The Knowledge of Contrast, Feeling for Light and Shade’: Amy Clampitt's ‘Voyages: A Homage to John Keats’ 1

(p.271) 11 ‘The Knowledge of Contrast, Feeling for Light and Shade’: Amy Clampitt's ‘Voyages: A Homage to John Keats’1
Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem

Michael O'Neill

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a reading of Amy Clampitt's ‘Voyages: A Homage to John Keats’. Clampitt herself voyages through the work of a number of Symbolist and post-Romantic poets — especially Rimbaud, Mandelstam, Whitman, Crane, and Stevens — in her endeavour to pay homage to Keats. Her poem is post-Romantic in its deftly unostentatious self-conscious devices. These include the deployment from section to section of images that take on the force of motifs and the intricately intertextual nature of the writing. But the poem is fascinated by a body of writing other than itself — Keats's poems and letters — themselves at once obsessed by poetry and self-forgetfully entranced by the otherness of experience. That fascination helps to give ‘Voyages: A Homage to John Keats’ a quality of saddened tragedy. In its unsentimental celebration of Keats's poetic career, however, the poem reminds us that what is being explored and finally asserted by many of the greatest and most self-conscious poems in the language from the Romantic period onwards is, quite simply and most complexly, creative freedom.

Keywords:   Keats, post-Romantic poetry, poems, Clampitt

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