Oppen, George

Oppen, George

▪ American poet and political activist
born April 24, 1908, New Rochelle, N.Y., U.S.
died July 7, 1984, Sunnyvale, Calif.

      American poet and political activist, one of the chief proponents of objectivism, a variation on Imagism (Imagist).

      Oppen grew up in San Francisco and briefly attended Oregon State University, where he met his wife. In 1929 the Oppens moved to Paris, where from 1930 to 1933 they ran the To Publishers press. There they published An “Objectivist” Anthology (1932), a seminal work in the history of American poetry. The book was edited by Louis Zukofsky (Zukofsky, Louis) and contained work by Ezra Pound (Pound, Ezra), T.S. Eliot (Eliot, T.S.), and William Carlos Williams (Williams, William Carlos), among others. When the press failed in 1933, the Oppens returned to the United States.

      The first book of Oppen's own poems, Discrete Series, was published in 1934. These spare, precisely written verses earned Oppen a reputation as one of the foremost Objectivist poets, who celebrated simplicity over formal structure and rhyme and emphasized the poem as an object in itself, not as a vehicle of meaning or association. Oppen became active in the U.S. Communist Party in the mid-1930s. In 1950 he fled to Mexico City to avoid persecution because of his politics, but he returned in 1958 and began writing poetry again. The Materials (1962) was his first book of poetry in 28 years. Most critics agree that Oppen's best work is Of Being Numerous (1968), which won a Pulitzer Prize. The Collected Poems of George Oppen was published in 1975, and Primitive, his last volume of poetry, in 1978. His married life is recounted in his wife's autobiography, Meaning a Life (1978). A volume of Oppen's correspondence, The Selected Letters of George Oppen, was published in 1990.

Additional Reading
Burton Hatlen (ed.), George Oppen, Man and Poet (1981).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • OPPEN, GEORGE — (1908–1984), U.S. poet. Oppen s life is exemplary of Jewish American culture and poetry in the 20th century. Born in New Rochelle, N.Y., Oppen was the child of George August Oppenheimer, a diamond merchant, and Elsie Rothfeld. His mother… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Oppen, George — (1908 84)    America poet. Born in New Rochelle, New York, to a German Jewish family, he moved to San Francisco at the age of five. He studied at Oregon State University, and from 1929 to 1933 he and his wife, Mary Corby, published poetry in… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • George Oppen — in 1969.Early lifeOppen was born in New Rochelle, New York. His father, George August Oppenheimer, a successful diamond merchant, changed the family name to Oppen in 1927. Oppen s childhood was one of considerable affluence; the family was well… …   Wikipedia

  • George Oppen — est un poète américain, né à Nouvelle Rochelle (New York) en 1908, mort à Sunnyvale (Californie) en 1984. Biographie Il est le fils de George August Oppenheimer, diamantaire de métier et de Elsie Rothfeld. Oppen a quatre ans quand sa mère se… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mary Oppen — (born November 28, 1908 – died May 14, 1990) was an American activist, artist, photographer, poet and writer. Contents 1 George Oppen 2 Poetry, Activism, and World War II 3 Return from exile 4 …   Wikipedia

  • Matthias v. Oppen — Matthias von Oppen (* um 1565 in Schlalach bei Belzig; † 11. April 1621 in Halberstadt) war ein bedeutender Kirchenpolitiker und wirtschaftlicher Reformer des späten 16. und frühen 17. Jahrhunderts. Burg Zilly, die durch Matthias v. Oppen ab 1595 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Matthias von Oppen (Dekan) — Matthias von Oppen Matthias von Oppen (* um 1565 in Schlalach bei Bad Belzig; † 11. April 1621 in Halberstadt) war ein bedeutender Kirchenpolitiker und wirtschaftlicher Reformer des späten 16. und frühen 17. Jahrhunderts[1]. Ber …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • 1978 in poetry — yearbox2 in?=in poetry in2?=in literature cp=19th century c=20th century cf=21st century yp1=1975 yp2=1976 yp3=1977 year=1978 ya1=1979 ya2=1980 ya3=1981 dp3=1940s dp2=1950s dp1=1960s d=1970s da=0 dn1=1980s dn2=1990s dn3=2000s|Events*… …   Wikipedia

  • List of World War II topics (G) — # G H (navigation) # G Men vs the Black Dragon # G and H class destroyer # G for George # G. B. Pegram # G. Mennen Williams # G. N. Glasoe # G. Warren Nutter # G.I. Robot # G.I. Stories # G.I. Wanna Home # G?siówka # Göppingen Gö 9 # Göran… …   Wikipedia

  • objectivism — objectivist, n., adj. objectivistic, adj. /euhb jek teuh viz euhm/, n. 1. a tendency to lay stress on the objective or external elements of cognition. 2. the tendency, as of a writer, to deal with things external to the mind rather than with… …   Universalium

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