How To Live / What To Do: H.D.'s Cultural Poetics
Author: Adalaide Morris
Publisher: University of Illinois Press (2008)
Adalaide Morris removes the work of the iconic poet, dramatist, and novelist H.D. from compartments into which it has historically been placed. As she examines the "ongoingness" of H.D.'s writing, Morris makes an eloquent and compelling case for a consideration of poems—all poems—as forms of cultural mediation, instructive historical documents that engage the reader in wide-ranging contemporary debates and use their acoustical richness to generate tangible cultural effects. As she argues in this volume, the writing and, crucially, the reading of poetry is a process in which meaning is produced by the interplay of words on a page and in the ear of the reader.
Morris shows H.D. to be a playful linguistic innovator whose writings bear on debates in science, technology, and cinema as well as on poetry. Foremost, however, H.D. was a profound reshaper of the boundaries and possibilities of poetry, a generative form that, as this book shows, can indeed serve the cultural work of survival and resistance against the violence of modern culture.