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Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature
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Book description

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 Making substantial use of unpublished archival material, Nathan Suhr-Sytsma examines poems in print, often the pages on which they first appeared, in order to chart the transformation of the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.

Reviews

'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

'Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature is meticulously researched, drawing on archival sources at Emory University, the Harry Ransom Center, Leeds University, and in Belgium and Nigeria. It is also theoretically sophisticated, constantly illuminating, often counterintuitive, beautifully written, and filled with keenly observed close readings - an astonishing achievement in a first book.'

Coilin Parsons Source: breac

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