Where does poetry take place? On tensions in the concept of a national art

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Why do we regularly resort to national labels and locations“( One of Ireland’s best contemporary poets,”“An American poet of the 1950s,”“Born in Spain in 1927, in the province of Cadíz”) when discussing the work of poets? The article takes the pervasive tendency to badge contemporary poetry in geopolitical terms as starting point for a discussion of the difficult and at times antithetical relation between that artform and national imagining. It focusses this discussion on an archive of 75 Anglophone poets’responses to a suite of questions about national and other forms of affiliation. The interviews were collected by the author and his colleagues in the course of their work on the 2013-2015 Australian Research Council funded project Understanding Creative Excellence: A Case-Study in Poetry. The article contextualises passages from the interviews through recent sociological work on the way contemporary subjects are called upon to assume an identity as national (Brubaker 2009 and 2015; Casanova 2005; Malešević 2011). The searching nature of poetic utterance provides a touchstone throughout. Where does poetry take place?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-93
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Comparative Literature
Volume2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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