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Lyn Hejinian's My Life

in Critical Survey
Author: Alan Shima 1
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  • 1 University of Gothenburg Alan.Shima@hhs.se
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The experimental mode and sensibility visioned in Lyn Hejinian’s poetic autobiography My Life (1987) is seditiously other than the Romantic aesthetics of William Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads (1802). Although both poets textualise the complex process of selfreflection, contemplating the differentiated and undifferentiated boundaries between life and language, Hejinian calls into question what Wordsworth and his contemporaries took for granted. Poetry, for Wordsworth, has its source in what he called real life; and the emotions of real life, recollected and then rendered in the testimony of metrical composition, is what is affirmed in poetry. This a priori relation of life to letters is redefined in Hejinian’s writing.

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