© 2020

Pound, Frost, Moore, and Poetic Precision

Science in Modernist American Poetry


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Barry Ahearn
    Pages 1-8
  3. Barry Ahearn
    Pages 9-60
  4. Barry Ahearn
    Pages 61-140
  5. Barry Ahearn
    Pages 141-212
  6. Barry Ahearn
    Pages 213-286
  7. Barry Ahearn
    Pages 287-300
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 301-332

About this book


Pound, Frost, Moore and Poetic Precision: Science in American Modernist Poetry examines three major poets in light of the demand that poetry aspire to scientific precision. The critical insistence that poetry be precise affected every one of these poets, and looking at how they responded to this insistence offers a new perspective on their achievements and, by extension, twentieth-century poetry in general. Ezra Pound sought to associate poetry with the precision of modern science, technology and mathematics as a way to eliminate or reduce error.  Robert Frost, however, welcomed imprecision as a fundamental aspect of existence that the poet could use.  Marianne Moore appreciated the value of both precision and imprecision, especially with respect to her religious perspective on human and natural phenomena. By analyzing these particular poets’ reaction to the value placed on precision, Barry Ahearn explores how that emphasis influenced the broader culture, literary culture and twentieth-century Modernist American poetry.


North American modernist poetry Ezra Pound Robert Frost Marianne Moore rise of science and technology in America precision in poetry literature and science

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Tulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

About the authors

Barry Ahearn is Professor Emeritus of English at Tulane University, USA.  He is the author of Zukofsky’s “A”: An Introduction (1983) and William Carlos Williams and Alterity (1994).  He has also edited the correspondence of Cummings, Pound, Williams and Zukofsky.

Bibliographic information