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Publisher description for The last avant-garde : the making of the New York School of Poets / by David Lehman.


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Counter Greenwich Village, New York, circa 1951. Every night, at a rundown tavern with a magnificent bar called the Cedar Tavern, an extraordinary group of painters, writers, poets, and hangers-on arrive to drink, argue, tell jokes, fight, start affairs, and bang out a powerful new aesthetic. Their style is playful, irreverent, tradition-shattering, and brilliant. Out of these friendships, and these conversations, will come the works of art and poetry that will define New York City as the capital of world culture--abstract expressionism and the New York School of Poetry.

A richly detailed portrait of one of the great movements in American arts and letters, The Last Avant Garde covers the years 1948-1966 and focuses on four fast friends--the poets Frank O'Hara, James Schuyler, John Ashbery, and Kenneth Koch. Lehman brings to vivid life the extraordinary creative ferment of the time and place, the relationship of great friendship to great art, and the powerful influence that a group of visual artists--especially Jane Freilicher, Larry Rivers, and Fairfield Porter--had on the literary efforts of the New York School. The book will be both a definitive and lively view of a quintessentially American aesthetic and an exploration of the dynamics of creativity.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: American poetry New York (State) New York History and criticism, Poets, American Homes and haunts New York (State) New York, Experimental poetry, American History and criticism, Avant-garde (Aesthetics) New York (State) New York, American poetry 20th century History and criticism, New York (N, Y, ) Intellectual life 20th century, City and town life in literature