Through an examination of US Language poet Lyn Hejinian’s encounter with Russia, this chapter argues that estrangement––far from being the product of a free-floating transnational modernism––remains inextricable from everyday experiences of strangeness and from the collective cross-cultural readings that shape those experiences. In The Guard (1984), Oxota (1991), and Leningrad (1991), Hejinian came to conflate Viktor Shklovsky’s concept of estrangement (ostranenie) with the estranging effect of Russia itself and, in so doing, developed her poetics of the person, which linked poetic estrangement with everyday life. Everyday life in Russia took on qualities that Hejinian associated with estrangement: the dissolution of defined objects and essential selfhood and the dynamic experience she called “personhood.” Hejinian found in this dynamic personhood a means to oppose essentialist national identities, so that Russian estrangement also became central to her utopian vision of bridging the Cold War divide between Russia and the United States.
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TagsA Common Strangeness ann vickery Arkadii Dragomoshchenko Brian Reed Charles Bernstein chinese poetry Christopher Bush Cilla McQueen comparative literature conceptual poetry conceptual writing dmitri prigov Fordham University Press Gerald Janecek Gone with the Wind Haun Saussy iteration iterations iterative poetics Jacket2 Jacob Edmond Jonathan Stalling kenneth goldsmith lisa samuels literature long poems Lucas Klein Lyn Hejinian Margaret Mitchell Maria Damon Michele Leggott New Zealand poetry poetry rachel blau duplessis revolution Russian literature russian poetry Stephanie Sandler the book translation US poetry Vanessa Place yang lian Аркадий Драгомощенко Дмитрий Пригов