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Carl Rakosi Portrait

Born in Berlin, the son of Hungarian nationals, Carl Rakosi came to the United States in 1910. He was educated at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota. He changed his name legally to Callman Rawley but retained the name Rakosi for his literary work. First associated with the Objectivists, Rakosi wrote no poetry from 1939 to 1965, feeling, as he told an interviewer, that "in the wake of the Depression and World War II, his intensely individual lyricism was irrelevant and impossible to continue." His lyric impulses are often counterpointed with sudden shifts in diction, sound, and thematic focus, as he cuts back and forth across the page and back and forth from seriousness to play. The aim in part is to catch the unstable relationship between consciousness and the physical world. For many years Rakosi supported himself as a social worker in the Midwest. The experience no doubt contributed to projects like his "Americana" series that gives his account of American beliefs and political currents.