The introduction offers a critical history of writings about the “poetry of the Americas,” with emphases on the poetics of Octavio Paz, and on poetry by José Martí, Salomón de la Selva, Charles Olson, Pablo Neruda, and others. It presents a method for understanding this hemispheric literary history in relation to the inequities of the inter-American political system, braiding together hemispheric geopolitics in the Good Neighbor era and the early Cold War with formalist interpretation and “integrationist” ideas of literary community. The introduction defines an “era of inter-American cultural diplomacy” as a literary-historical moment in which the poetry of the Americas invested heavily in the project of critiquing as well as organizing American states, and it closes with synopses of the book’s six chapters, charting the inter-American poetry of World War II, the abandonment of inter-Americanism in the early Cold War, and its reconfigurations and renewals in the 1960s.
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