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This article is taken from PN Review 199, Volume 37 Number 5, May - June 2011.

A Burst of Romantic Poetry Jeffrey C. Robinson
It is not a matter of rejecting one's heritage but of learning to squander it. (Nicolas Bourriaud)
The brooding of Romanticism continues to burst around us. (Lyn Hejinian)

Nicolas Bourriaud, curator of contemporary art at Tate Britain, asks in his book The Radicant (2009): 'How does this phenomenon [of globalisation] affect the life of form?' His elaborate answer is first of all a critique of shibboleths of the arts: origins, roots, monumentality, and the centrality of the identical self. In their place he marks instances from experimental modernism and contemporary art, particularly the general type of collage and assemblage, that revel in crossings of geographical and generic boundaries, in juxtapositions of all sorts, that prefer to stability all forms of restless mobility and precariousness. To 'squander one's heritage' in this context dissolves the fetishising of origins and identity through an art, or an assemblage, 'constructed out of borrowings, citations, and proximities', a series of displacements, a 'gay science' of de-familiarisation, recovery, and discovery, a new principle of inclusivity.Poems for the Millennium, Volume Three: The University of California Book of Romantic and Postromantic Poetry (2009), which I edited with Jerome Rothenberg, is such an assemblage, this time redistributing 'Romantic Poetry' horizontally, as it were, across many nations, cultures, and decades (the mid-eighteenth century to about 1910), an act that we find at once in keeping with fundamental Romantic tenets and the wider vision of much of the art of our contemporaries.

Since its publication in 2009, we ...


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