Not One of Them in Place

Modern Poetry and Jewish American Identity

By Norman Finkelstein

Subjects: Ethnicity
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780791449844, 206 pages, May 2001
Hardcover : 9780791449837, 206 pages, May 2001

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Table of contents



The Traditions of Jewish American Poetry

1. Tradition and Modernity: Charles Reznikoff and the Test of (Jewish) Poetry

2. Jewish American Modernism and the Problem of Identity
With Special Reference to the Work of Louis Zukofsky

3. Allen Grossman's Theophoric Poetics

4. Between Poland and Sumer: The Ethnopoetics of Jerome Rothenberg and Armand Schwerner

5. Objectivist Continuities: Harvey Shapiro, Michael Heller, Hugh Seidman

Saying Kaddish: Holiness, Death, and the Jewish Difference in Poetry

Works Cited


Explores the ways in which Jewish American poetry engages persistent questions of modern Jewish identity.


Not One of Them in Place is the first book to examine the ways in which Jewish belief, thought, and culture have been shaped and articulated in modern American poetry. Based on the idea that recent American poetry has gravitated between two traditions—romantic and symbolist on the one hand, modernist and objectivist on the other—Norman Finkelstein provides a theoretical framework for reading the Jewish-American canon, as well as close readings of well known and less established poets, including Allen Ginsberg, Charles Reznikoff, Louis Zukofsky, Harvey Shapiro, Armand Schwerner, Hugh Seidman, and Michael Heller. Not One of Them in Place presents this poetry in a clear and nuanced style, paying equal attention to its historical and its aesthetic dimensions.

Norman Finkelstein is Professor of English at Xavier University. His previous works include two volumes of poetry, Restless Messengers and Track, and The Ritual of New Creation: Jewish Tradition and Contemporary Literature, also published by SUNY Press.


"From the first-generation Objectivists to their contemporary heirs, from the visionary grandeur of Allen Grossman to the ethnopoetics of Jerome Rothenberg and Armand Schwerner, Jewish American poets have made a singularly rich and wide range of contributions to their art at the end of the millennium. Approaching these poets through an adroit combination of exemplary close reading, nuanced literary history, and the scholarship of Judaica, and writing from inside his subject as a poet himself, Norman Finkelstein lucidly negotiates central terms of identity, poetics, and spirit as he constructs a field-altering map of the achieved and the possible. " — Alan Golding, author of From Outlaw to Classic: Canons in American Poetry

"A mainstay for anyone researching the subject of American Jewish poetry. Finkelstein both crystallizes the issues and complicates the questions. " — Janet E. Kaufman, coeditor of How Shall We Tell Each Other of the Poet: The Life and Writing of Muriel Rukeyser