Postmodern literature followed the modernist literature to advance the style and the philosophy of modern literatures after the end of World War II. Postmodern literature used fragmentation, irony, black humor, paradox, non-linear narrators, unrealistic and downright impossible plots, parody and paranoia.
Postmodern writing technique highlights and celebrates the possibility of multiple meanings within a single literary work. Postmodern works are seen as a response against dogmatic following of Enlightenment thinking and Modernist approaches to literature. Postmodernism has become widely recognized as a movement consisting of an epic scope, innovative techniques and wide ranges of psychological and intellectual impact in experimental literature. Most of the above-esteemed writers had their works after the mid twenty centuries in postmodernism period up to present. Their writing touched all social, political, technological and natural issues of the society in postmodernist era. Gwendolyn Brooks and Sherman Alexei are the examples of poetics of social critique, employing methods of identification, empathy and advocacy and a rope of cultural awareness.
Audre Lorde and Yusef Komunyakaa combine linguistic decentering with specifically African American consciousness. Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton are poetics of subjectivity, employing methods of introspection and trope of vulnerability. Those writers exerted a fundamental influence on late 20th century on development of literature in varying degrees.
As the 21st century got under way, history remained the outstanding concern of American literature in contemporary period. Issues like global warming and international conflicts received attention. American Literature Readings in the 21st Century publishes works by contemporary critics that help shape critical opinion regarding literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the United States.