Dark Poetry and the Anti-Elegiac: Approaching the Unspeakable

Alyson Miller, Cassandra Atherton, Paul Hetherington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dark Tourism is a term associated with pilgrimages to places associated with the famous dead. 'Dark Poetry' attempts to imagine, explore, or reanimate a dark event. Using Charles Reznikoff’s Holocaust poetry and Mariko Nagai’s collection, Irradiated Cities (2017) as examples, we discuss dark poetry’s use of an anti-elegiac mode, which focuses on historical particularities in refashioning and problematizing dark events while employing numerous gaps and fragmentations. This poetry, often written by second-generation and non-survivor poets, approaches notions of the ineffable while providing an important bridge between incomprehensible events and the human imagination, and challenging language’s capacity to comprehend the 'unspeakable.'
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)233-265
Number of pages33
JournalCollege Literature
Issue number2 (Spring 2024)
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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