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Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature
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    Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature
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Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature reveals an intriguing history of relationships among poets and editors from Ireland and Nigeria, as well as Britain and the Caribbean, during the mid-twentieth-century era of decolonization. The book explores what such leading anglophone poets as Seamus Heaney, Christopher Okigbo, and Derek Walcott had in common: 'peripheral' origins and a desire to address transnational publics without expatriating themselves. The book reconstructs how they gained the imprimatur of both local and London-based cultural institutions. It shows, furthermore, how political crises challenged them to reconsider their poetry's publics. Making substantial use of unpublished archival material, Nathan Suhr-Sytsma examines poems in print, often the pages on which they first appeared, in order to chart the transformation of the anglophone literary world. He argues that these poets' achievements cannot be extricated from the transnational networks through which their poems circulated - and which they in turn remade.


'This splendid book meticulously traces the networks that enmesh postcolonial poems within publishing and other cultural institutions that gave rise to them. With deep care and strong insight, Nathan Suhr-Sytsma resituates anglophone Irish, Caribbean, and West African poems in the overlapping material worlds that produced and circulated them. In his analysis, individual works sparkle on webs of cross-cultural connection, including publishing houses, conferences, journals, and universities. Exquisitely attuned to the fabric of poetry and its translocal contexts, this book illuminates the importance of poetry’s textual, institutional, and bibliographic embodiments.'

Jahan Ramazani - author of Poetry and Its Others: News, Prayer, Song, and the Dialogue of Genres

'Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature provides a captivating examination of world anglophone literature. Combining extensive archival research with deft readings of poetry, Suhr-Sytsma challenges existing models of global literature by suggesting that an account of temporality - especially the pressure to be cutting-edge or contemporary - is as important as geography for our understanding of cultural production. Poets such as Seamus Heaney, Christopher Okigbo, and Derek Walcott come to life in the performance spaces, publication venues, collaborative ventures, and professional networks through which they have circulated the poetry of our times.'

Peter Kalliney - author of Commonwealth of Letters: British Literary Culture and the Emergence of Postcolonial Aesthetics and Modernism in a Global Context

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Michaela Bronstein , observing that some African writers appear “to have no sense of belatedness,” proposes a model of diachronic influence study called “literary transhistory” inNgũgĩ’s Use of Conrad: The Case for Literary Transhistory,” Modern Language Quarterly 75, no. 3 (September 2014): 413

Robert Fraser , “School Readers in the Empire and the Creation of Postcolonial Taste,” in Books Without Borders: The Cross-National Dimension in Print Culture, ed. Robert Fraser and Mary Hammond (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 89106

Andrew Goldstone , Fictions of Autonomy: Modernism from Wilde to de Man (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

Sarah Brouillette , Literature and the Creative Economy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014).

Douglas Mao and Rebecca L. Walkowitz , “The New Modernist Studies,” PMLA 123, no. 3 (May 2008)

Frederick Cooper ’s discussion of “layered sovereignty” as a lost possibility of the 1950s is particularly striking. See hisPossibility and Constraint: African Independence in Historical Perspective,” Journal of African History 49, no. 2 (July 2008): 175

John Guillory , “Bourdieu’s Refusal,” Modern Language Quarterly 58, no. 4 (December 1997): 381–82

Matthew Hart in Nations of Nothing but Poetry: Modernism, Transnationalism, and Synthetic Vernacular Writing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010)

Yogita Goyal , Research in African Literatures 45, no. 3 (Fall 2014)

Michael Malouf judiciously evaluates Casanova’s “Irish Paradigm” inProblems with Paradigms: Irish Comparativism and Casanova’s World Republic of Letters,” New Hibernia Review / Iris Éireannach Nua 17, no. 1 (Spring/Earrach 2013): 4866

Omaar Hena , Global Anglophone Poetry: Literary Form and Social Critique in Walcott, Muldoon, de Kok, and Nagra (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

Eric Falci , Continuity and Change in Irish Poetry, 1966–2010 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Pheng Cheah , “World against Globe: Toward a Normative Conception of World Literature,” New Literary History 45, no. 3 (Summer 2014): 303

Joseph Dane points out the dangers of generalizing too hastily from a single example in the title essay of The Myth of Print Culture: Essays on Evidence, Textuality, and Bibliographical Method (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003)

Elizabeth le Roux , “Book History in the African World: The State of the Discipline,” Book History 15 (2012): 248300

Graham Huggan , The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins (London: Routledge, 2001)

Sarah Brouillette , Postcolonial Writers in the Global Literary Marketplace (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

Christopher S. Nealon , “Reading on the Left,” Representations 108, no. 1 (Fall 2009): 44

Bernard Lahire , “Literature Is Not Just a Battlefield,” New Literary History 46, no. 3 (Summer 2015): 387407

Jarad Zimbler , “For Neither Love Nor Money: The Place of Political Art in Pierre Bourdieu’s Literary Field,” Textual Practice 23, no. 4 (2009): 599620

Pierre Bourdieu , “Fourth Lecture. Universal Corporatism: The Role of Intellectuals in the Modern World,” Poetics Today 12, no. 4 (Winter 1991): 656, 668

Eric Hayot , On Literary Worlds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)

Sara Marzagora , “African-Language Literatures and the ‘Transnational Turn’ in Euro-American Humanities,” Journal of African Cultural Studies 27, no. 1 (2015): 47, 48

Moradewun Adejunmobi , “Major and Minor Discourses of the Vernacular: Discrepant African Histories,” in Minor Transnationalism, ed. Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005), 179–97

Oyeniyi Okunoye , “Captives of Empire: Early Ibadan Poets and Poetry,” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 34, no. 2 (1999): 105–16

Heather Clark , The Ulster Renaissance: Poetry in Belfast, 1962–1972 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Joseph Rezek makes a kindred argument about earlier Irish, Scottish, and American fiction in London and the Making of Provincial Literature: Aesthetics and the Transatlantic Book Trade, 1800–1850 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)

John D. Hargreaves , “The Idea of a Colonial University,” African Affairs 72(January 1973): 27

Gikandi specifically mentions The Horn in a later article, “Preface: Modernism in the World,” Modernism/Modernity 13, no. 3 (2006): 422

David Richards , “‘Canvas of Blood’: Okigbo’s African Modernism,” in Comparing Postcolonial Literatures: Dislocations, ed. Ashok Bery and Patricia Murray (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 2000), 229–40.

Olabode Ibironke , “The Ibadan Origins of Modern African Literature: African Writers Series, Mbari Club & the Social Character of Ibadan,” History Compass 13, no. 11 (November 2015): 550–59

Dingome, “Mbari,” 685. Cf. Abdul R. Yesufu , “Mbari Publications: A Pioneer Anglophone African Publishing House,” The African Book Publishing Record 8, no. 2 (1982): 5357

James Currey , “Literary Publishing After Nigerian Independence: Mbari as Celebration,” Research in African Literatures 44, no. 2 (Summer 2013): 816

Tejumola Olaniyan , “The Cosmopolitan Nativist: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the Antinomies of Postcolonial Modernity,” Research in African Literatures 32, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 85

Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie , “The Historical Life of Objects: Art History and the Problem of Discursive Obsolescence,” African Arts 38, no. 4 (Winter 2005): 66.

Cultural Events in Africa, no. 1 (December 1964), 6. For an overview of the Transcription Centre, see Gerald Moore , “The Transcription Centre in the Sixties: Navigating in Narrow Seas,” Research in African Literatures 33, no. 3 (Autumn 2002): 167–81

Peter Kalliney , “Modernism, African Literature, and the Cold War,” Modern Language Quarterly 76, no. 3 (September 2015): 333–68

Bernth Lindfors , “Heroes and Hero-Worship in Nigerian Chapbooks,” Journal of Popular Culture 1, no. 1 (Summer 1967): 815

Gail Low , “At Home? Discoursing on the Commonwealth at the 1965 Commonwealth Arts Festival,” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 48, no. 1 (2013): 91111, especially 101–3

Radhika Natarajan , “Performing Multiculturalism: The Commonwealth Arts Festival of 1965,” Journal of British Studies 53, no. 3 (July 2014): 705–33, especially 708–13.

C. L. Innes , “Postcolonial Studies and Ireland,” in Comparing Postcolonial Literatures: Dislocations, ed. Ashok Bery and Patricia Murray (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 2000), 2130

William J. Maxwell , “Global Poetics and State-Sponsored Transnationalism: A Reply to Jahan Ramazani,” American Literary History 18, no. 2 (2006): 364.

Ruth Craggs discusses British attitudes to the “new” or “modern” Commonwealth inThe Commonwealth Institute and the Commonwealth Arts Festival: Architecture, Performance and Multiculturalism in Late-Imperial London,” London Journal 36, no. 3 (November 2011): 247–68, especially 248–50

A. O. Amoko , “The Problem with English Literature: Canonicity, Citizenship, and the Idea of Africa,” Research in African Literatures 32, no. 4 (Winter 2001): 23

Arthur Ravenscroft , “The Origins,” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 21, no. 1 (1986): 23

Gail Low , “Professing the common wealth of literature, Leeds 1957–1969,” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 50, no. 3 (September 2015): 276–77

Nathan Suhr-Sytsma , “Publishing Postcolonial Poetry,” in The Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Poetry, ed. Jahan Ramazani (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 239–41

O. R. Dathorne , “African Literature IV: Ritual and Ceremony in Okigbo’s Poetry,” Journal of Commonwealth Literature, no. 5 (July 1968): 79

Gene Ulansky , “Mbari – The Missing Link,” Phylon 26, no. 3 (1965): 252

S. A. Aluko , “How Many Nigerians? An Analysis of Nigeria’s Census Problems, 1901–63,” Journal of Modern African Studies 3, no. 3 (October 1965): 374

Sam O. Idemili , “What the West African Pilot Did in the Movement for Nigerian Nationalism between 1937 and 1957,” Black American Literature Forum 12, no. 3 (Autumn 1978): 8491

Dan Izevbaye , “Living the Myth: Revisiting Okigbo’s Art and Commitment,” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 48, no. 1 (2011): 16

Maik Nwosu , “Christopher Okigbo and the Postcolonial Market of 247Memories,” Research in African Literatures 38, no. 4 (Winter 2007): 76

Michael J. C. Echeruo , “Christopher Okigbo, Poetry Magazine, and the ‘Lament of the Silent Sisters’,” Research in African Literatures 35, no. 3 (Fall 2004): 825

Oyeniyi Okunoye , “Ewì, Yorùbá Modernity, and the Public Space,” Research in African Literatures 41, no. 4 (Winter 2010): 52

James Currey , “Literary Publishing After Nigerian Independence: Mbari as Celebration,” Research in African Literatures 44, no. 2 (Summer 2013)

Ben Obumselu , “Cambridge House, Ibadan, 1962–66: Politics and Poetics in Okigbo’s Last Years,” Research in African Literatures 41, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 3

Toyin Falola and Matthew M. Heaton , A History of Nigeria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 171–72

Emmanuel Obiechina , “Poetry As Therapy: Reflections on Achebe’s Christmas in Biafra and Other Poems,” Callaloo 25, no. 2 (Spring 2002): 535

Heather Clark , The Ulster Renaissance: Poetry in Belfast, 1962–1972 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Edna Longley , Yeats and Modern Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 145

Heather Clark , The Ulster Renaissance: Poetry in Belfast, 1962–1972 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Fran Brearton , “Poetry of the 1960s: the ‘Northern Ireland Renaissance,’” in The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary Irish Poetry, ed. Matthew Campbell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 94112

Peter D. McDonald , “Ideas of the Book and Histories of Literature: After Theory?,” PMLA 121, no. 1 (January 2006): 216–17

Jonathan Culler responds to this argument with a defense of the lyric as a longstanding genre created by poets themselves in Theory of the Lyric (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015)

Debra Rae Cohen , “Intermediality and the Problem of the Listener,” Modernism/modernity 19, no. 5 (September 2012): 573

Hugh Haughton , “On Sitting Down to Read ‘A Disused Shed in Co Wexford’ Once Again,” Cambridge Quarterly 31, no. 2 (2002): 184.

Wendy Laura Belcher , Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 1


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