The increasingly personal and confessional quality in contemporary poetry is, in part, a reaction to the diminishing role of the individual within society. Artists attempt to reassert the primacy of individual worth, for the artist's role has also been adversely affected. Seymour Krim describes the modern age as "a period when the terrifying bigness of society makes the average person resort to more immediate and practical oracles (psychiatrists, sociologists, chemists) than to the kind of imaginative truth that the artist can give" (126). For Gregory Corso, the poetic attack on the forces which obscure or deny the value of the individual is especially important: he recognizes that "the world is changing therefore man must change, and the poet, who sooner than most becomes aware of the changing, must blow the trumpet" ("Some" 177). His poetic voice celebrates whatever asserts the inviolability of the human spirit, subsuming strengths and vices, weaknesses and virtues. Like Walt Whitman, he glories in his self-contradiction, a quality which in Corso is most evident in the consistency of his vacillation. He sings the uniqueness of the human being in terms of the non-rational imaginative capacity and in terms of the indefinability of the human mind.



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