Carter Ratcliff : ARRIVEDERCI, MODERNISMO
Cover by Alex Katz
Carter Ratcliff’s long out-of-print 1974 poem, “Arrevederci, Modernismo,” is a defining poem of its time, both in its recognition of a crucial moment in aesthetics and in its unflinching technical approach to its subject. This adventurous contemporary poem is written in a series of prose-like sentences that gather poetic force both in their verbal dexterity and also in the sense of longing that is mysteriously evoked. The present edition presents the poem with an eye to its visual, as well as its semantic, significance. The poem itself is bookended by two short essays — an afterword by the author on the writing of the poem and an introduction by poet and critic Vincent Katz on Ratcliff’s poetic lineage, as a follower of John Ashbery, who took Ashbery’s style and aesthetic into new areas. This publication is a special act of homage to an important poem that deserves to be much better known.
Carter Ratcliff is a poet and an art critic. His books include Fever Coast (1973), a collection of poems; Give Me Tomorrow (1983), a collection of poems with illustrations by Alex Katz; John Singer Sargent (1983); The Fate Of A Gesture: Jackson Pollock And Postwar American Art (1998); and Out Of The Box: The Reinvention of Art 1965-1975 (2000). He was awarded the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism by the College Art Association in 1987.
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