A Transnational Poetics by Jahan Ramazani

By Jahan Ramazani

Poetry is usually considered as culturally homogeneous—“stubbornly national,” in T. S. Eliot’s word, or “the so much provincial of the arts,” in keeping with W. H. Auden. yet in A Transnational Poetics, Jahan Ramazani uncovers the ocean-straddling energies of the poetic imagination—in modernism and the Harlem Renaissance; in post–World conflict II North the United States and the North Atlantic; and in ethnic American, postcolonial, and black British writing. Cross-cultural trade and effect are, he argues, one of the leader engines of poetic improvement within the 20th- and twenty-first centuries.            Reexamining the paintings of a wide range of poets, from Eliot, Yeats, and Langston Hughes to Elizabeth Bishop, Lorna Goodison, and Agha Shahid Ali, Ramazani finds the numerous ways that sleek and modern poetry in English overflows nationwide borders and exceeds the scope of nationwide literary paradigms. via quite a few transnational templates—globalization, migration, shuttle, style, effect, modernity, decolonization, and diaspora—he discovers poetic connection and discussion throughout international locations or even hemispheres. enormously wide-ranging in scope but carefully excited by details, A Transnational Poetics demonstrates how poetic research can foster an aesthetically attuned transnational literary feedback that's even as alert to modernity’s worldwide .

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H. ”2 While literature, as Benedict Anderson shows, helps fashion “imagined community,”3 or ethnos, the boundaries of national and regional community are also confounded by poets, novelists, playwrights, and readers as they forge alliances of style and sensibility across vast distances of geography, history, and culture. How would modern and contemporary poetry studies in English— an area now largely subdivided along national lines—look if this transnationalism were taken to be primary rather than incidental?

That many of the key modernists were expatriates is frequently rehearsed. ”6 Yet the implications of such human displace- A Transnational Poetics 25 ment for nation-based literary histories have not been fully absorbed within institutions of literary instruction, dissemination, and criticism, which remain largely nation-centric. Whether these migrant writers left home compelled by politics or lured by economics, whether in search of cultural traditions or freedom from the burden of such traditions, whether for publishing opportunities, educational advancement, or new cultural horizons, they produced works that cannot always be read as emblematic of single national cultures.

Day Lewis, William Empson, W. H. ” Along with the increasing numbers of poets on the move, the cross-national reading practices of the twentieth century also impair the mononational literary model. The massive number of cross-national influences upon and appropriations by the modernists disrupt the usual dynastic narratives of compatriot X begetting compatriot Y begetting compatriot Z. ”10 Further thwarting mononational narratives were the proliferation of geography-traversing technologies such as the telephone, cinema, and radio; the increasing ease of travel by ship and by air; the massive 26 chapter two migration of black North Americans from the rural South to the urban North; the circulation of avant-garde art and translations among European and North American cities; the rapid global movement of capital; the researches of globe-trotting anthropologists; the dramatic expansion of the British Empire across a quarter of the land’s surface by World War I; the emergence at the same time of the United States as a new political and economic world power.

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