Amy Stidham

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20172018 Forum on Afterlives

Amy Stidham


CAS, 2018

Amy is a senior English major whose project for the Humanities Forum will focus on the afterlives of authors in later literary works, particularly 20th century poetry. She conducted research this summer with a fellowship from the Price Lab for the Digital Humanities, using text mining to look at the legitimacy of the claim that modernist poetry was particularly focused on 'the now.' She is also an editorial assistant at Jacket2 Magazine and a staff member at the Kelly Writers House where she sweeps, washes dishes, and regularly attends readings by her favorite contemporary poets. 

Literary Reincarnation

In T.S. Eliot's essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent," he presents a manifesto of how poets should connect to the past of the literary tradition in which they are writing. He believes that a poet should never invest his poetry in the personal; instead, the poet should converse in a language of universals, turning canonical figures and ancient symbols into fresh poetry. W.B. Yeats and H.D. both outlined conceptions of a collective unconscious that connects them to people and thoughts that came before them, allowing them to have this connection that Eliot suggests is so important. Both of their theories propose justifications for their entrances into literary communities they would not have known without these connections to the past: the literature of Irish tradition for Yeats and the predominantly male literary community as a whole for H.D. I want to tie these theories of collective unconscious directly to literary tradition and define their place in the creation of an ethos of universal connection in both Yeats's and H.D.'s poetry.