The Labyrinth; and other collected poems.

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Understanding modernist poetries in this way enables readers to see modernism not as separate from but internal to modernity. While it would be impossible to contain modern poetry under a single banner, this chapter traces two abiding and interrelated tendencies that connect high modernism to contemporary world Anglophone poetries. The first is a tendency toward global comparison.

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Modern poetry repeatedly, though in different ways, figures crises over modernity through appeals to other places, other times, and other cultures. Modernist comparisons, it is true, often fall into the trap of orientalism. But comparisons between cultures also challenge the presumption of cultural superiority and historical progress, as these are given the lie by waste, violence, and death. The second feature, which functions in dialectical relation to the first, concerns a renewed preoccupation over the relation between poetry and politics.

Given how many high modernists became proponents of political conservatism Yeats , anti-Semitism Eliot , and fascism Pound , one question becomes whether it is possible to disentan- gle modernist poetics of fragmentation from reactionary politics and imperial ideolo- gies of world-building. Indeed, the politics of modernist poetries are not even neces- sarily equivalent with the stated opinions or beliefs of a given poet. An impulse to global comparisons and a self-reflection over the politics of poetry: this dialectic animates how world modernist poetries give shape to and are shaped by the pressures of global modernity.

P Clark, and Christopher Okigbo. Their works combine modernist difficulty and allusiveness with Igbo songs and Yoruba belief systems. Through publications, initially in the magazines Black Orpheus and Transition, they look past the perceived essentialism of Negritude and the strictures of protest poetry.

Collected Poems: 1945-1990 R.S.Thomas: Collected Poems : R S Thomas

As a result, Mbari writers became vulnerable to claims of betraying the nation and effacing local traditions Okunoye. But this is not the whole story. Before his early death in August , fighting for Biafran independence during the first months of the Nigerian civil war, Okigbo was a student of Greek and Latin during his time at University of Ibadan in the s, a teacher and librarian, and representative for Cambridge University Press in West Africa.

Okigbo aspires to transform the artifice of poetic utterance into the sights and sounds of deep ecology. Whereas African poets in the s and s indigenize Anglo-modernist poetics to script political decolonization, Afro-Caribbean poets such as Walcott and Brathwaite reinvent modernist aesthetics to enunciate the hybrid Caribbean. If precolonial histories are fundamentally irretrievable to Walcott, this space of lack begets new languages and new poetic traditions for figuring a history of the present. In response, St.

In the final stanzas, Walcott shatters the encasings of Christian allegory by turning, like Okigbo, to an ecological realm beyond language: and in the salt chuckle of rocks with their sea pools, there was the sound like a rumour without any echo of History really beginning. That said, Walcott arguably retains a more Eurocentric frame of reference that, even while claiming St. In contrast, Brathwaite fashions himself as representative of the collective Afro- Caribbean, often assuming the posture of a modern-day griot.

A poet, dramatist, historian, and cultural critic, Brathwaite currently holds a position as Professor of Comparative Literature at New York University. He says: The alternative tradition is belly-centered: in the beat, the drum, the apparent bawdy. And behind this whole revolt, this assertion of an alternative, there lies the deep rhyth- mical and formal influence of Africa.


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Roots 74 Eliot and Picasso are, to his eyes, already Africanized. Brathwaite is no mere modernist imitator but, on the contrary, a collaborator.

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Rather than reading Walcott as globally uprooted versus Brathwaite as locally grounded, one can better understand their strategies as two modes of figuring the global-local nexus that lie along a continuum of postcolonial modernist innovation. Whereas Walcott foregrounds Western texts arguably at the expense of the indige- nous, Brathwaite highlights Africanist sources over and against the predominance of European cultural-linguistic authority.

That said, both Walcott and Brathwaite are equally committed to the power of the poetic to summon forgotten histories and cultures. Transnational migration, ethnic hybridity, and diaspora: such are the experiences informing world modernist poetries written in the aftermath of decolonization and during the era of globalization, from the s onward. Having taught at University of Chicago from until his sudden death in , he was as steeped in critical theory including Freud, Saussure, and Derrida as he was in classical Indian texts in Sanskrit, Tamil, and Kannada that he translated into English.

The connection between textual reflexivity on the one hand and a creative language of dissent on the other frustrates any discourse seeking to maintain discrete cultural, geographic boundaries. Ramanujan alerts the reader to the irrepressible hybridity of literatures that have always flowed into one another. That said, on an intertextual level, the text cross-fertilizes poetic traditions, creating new life from out of textual remains.

The three-line stanzaic structure, the concrete and plain spoken language, and the quick shift from the politico-economic register to ecological organicism owes as much to the modernism of William Carlos Williams as it does to Tamil poetics. The cosmopolitan inflections of modernism should not equate, however, to an erasure of the local and the national.


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If anything a global comparative poetics can be put to the work of forging an expanded national consciousness, as in the recent work of South African poet Ingrid de Kok. The glue that fits the pieces is the sealing of the original shape. It is such a love that reassembles our African fragments, the cracked heirlooms whose restoration shows its white scars. Watch and pray? No benign conclusion waits In the wings, enters to pull the curtain down over hunger, grief and hate. Through Yeats, de Kok signifies a shared but discrepant colonial affinity between Ireland and post South Africa and seeks to rouse a politics of discontent and dissatisfaction as a necessary corrective to the failures of progress and development.

As she explains: Elegiac poetry or any art cannot heal the burden of the past. It can only symbolically reconfigure the past, own its burdens and losses. In the twentieth century and beyond, the traditional resources of elegy have of necessity been eroded; but its formal gestures still signal more than just a reference back to the history of the genre — they can still somehow remember into the future.


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But even beyond reenlivening the tradition of elegy, de Kok also makes visible the already transnational textual fabric of what can sometimes appear to be a resolutely nation-bound genre. An emphasis on the aesthetics and politics of comparison inspires even more reread- ings diachronically backwards in the modernist archive and synchronically across contemporary poetries in English.

Though no study of world modernist poetries can be comprehensive, thinking about high modernism and postcolonial Anglophone poetry can encourage certain practices of reading. Above all, world modernist poetries provoke their readers with the unsettling pleasures and ineluctable risks of compari- son. Poems and poets draw comparisons traversing vast geographies and histories, intertwining indigenous and cosmopolitan cultures, and infusing the dialect of Stand- ard English with numerous vernaculars.

But there are also the unruly, refreshing comparisons that happen in the act of reading, compelling us to ask how the times and places of modernism cast insight into what it means to live in the uncertainty of the global now. Modernity at Large.

Selected Poems of Walt Whitman (ENG)

Minneapo- Braithwaite, Kamau. Auden, W. Another Time. London: Faber, Brown, Stewart, ed.

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The Art of Kamau Brathwaite. Bridgend: Seren, Bradbury, Malcolm, and James McFarlane, eds. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. London: Penguin, Mariner. Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling. New York: Oxford Brathwaite, Kamau. The Arrivants. Oxford: UP, Oxford UP, Cuddy-Keane, Melba. Ann Arbor: U of Michi- Globalization. London: Oxford UP, Bad and Carli Coetzee. Oxford: Oxford UP, Against Normalization: Writing de Kok, Ingrid.

Durham, NC: Poems. New York: Seven Stories, Duke UP, Labyrinths and Path of with Ingrid de Kok. Trenton, NJ: Africa World, Studies in Southern Africa 8. Okunoye, Oyeniyi. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters.

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Collected Poems: 1945-1990 R.S.Thomas: Collected Poems : R S Thomas

Sort order. Mar 23, Trevor rated it it was amazing Shelves: literature. A friend of mine called me today to ask me to send him an e e cummings poem I used to have on my wall at work when I worked with him — oh, a decade ago. Neither of us thought it would be necessary for him to tell me which one, and so I sent him this one: somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond any experience, your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which i cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look will easily unclose me though i A friend of mine called me today to ask me to send him an e e cummings poem I used to have on my wall at work when I worked with him — oh, a decade ago.

And drank rapidly a glass of water God, I love that poem. Anyway — all this has meant that the first of these two poems has been bouncing around in my head all day. So, there is only one thing for it, I guess.

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