George Oppen was one of the minor literary figures of the 1930s.[1] Friend of Pound, employer of Zukofsky, collaborator with Williams and Reznikoff, an animating spirit of the Objectivist movement, he was a young man with ideals and a little money, who with more money, or fewer ideals, might have become as useful as James Laughlin. In 1935, Oppen joined the Communist Party, while concealing his bourgeois past as a poet (this might have told him something about the party, if Stalin’s purges did not). For the next twenty years or more, Oppen swore off poetry; when not training for party leadership, he organized the poor, fomented strikes, and protested against monopolies (though the aim of any union is to exploit a monopoly of labor). During World War II, he was wounded while serving in an anti-tank unit in Europe. After the war he built furniture, attended art school in Mexico on the


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