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Modernist poetry is a general umbrella term for poets writing in the first decades of the twentieth century, often with assumptions of shared aesthetic priorities.

Jon Woodson: On "Middle Passages"

Like other poets who wished to compose long poems in the mode of The Waste Land, Robert Hayden had not only to resolve the many problems inherent in such a project, but he also had to negotiate another complement of difficulties occasioned by the distance from which he was forced to contemplate American society. Haydens account of his own appropriation of the long poem is revealing. The most striking feature of Hayden’s career is that he did not begin as a modernist poet.

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