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By Jahan Ramazani

Poetry is frequently seen as culturally homogeneous—“stubbornly national,” in T. S. Eliot’s word, or “the so much provincial of the arts,” in response to 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 warfare II North the USA and the North Atlantic; and in ethnic American, postcolonial, and black British writing. Cross-cultural alternate and impact 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 unearths the various ways that sleek and modern poetry in English overflows nationwide borders and exceeds the scope of nationwide literary paradigms. via numerous transnational templates—globalization, migration, shuttle, style, effect, modernity, decolonization, and diaspora—he discovers poetic connection and discussion throughout international locations or even hemispheres. awfully wide-ranging in scope but carefully fascinated 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 international situation.

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Extra resources for A Transnational Poetics

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Some poetry is, of course, imperialist, appropriative, and flattening in its cross-cultural engagements. But when the intercultural tropes, allusions, and vocabularies of poetry outstrip single-state or single-identity affiliations, they can exemplify the potential for generative intercultural exploration. 2. To discuss every example of a modern poet whose life and work deviate from the mononational would be impossible, since, as the examples of 32 chapter two Pound, Eliot, Stein, and McKay indicate, this would be to retell a great deal of twentieth-century literary history.

77 The heuristic corollary of this observation is that poems are best taught in the original, and in an English department in a predominantly English-speaking country, the teacher devising a poetry syllabus cannot usually presume student competence in multiple languages. Moreover, although poetic influences continually cross linguistic lines, the language specificity of 20 chapter one poetry often grants the inheritances in a poet’s working language(s) special weight. Usually, the language field out of which a poem is carved, and upon which it exerts the greatest pressure, is the language in which it is written.

He traces Eliot’s literary roots to the “very American” writer Henry James and, before him, to Walt Whitman (226), eclipsing such English precursors as the metaphysical poets and the English Romantics. Indications of a more ambiguous cultural identity are converted into their opposite: Eliot’s concept of “the mind of Europe” exhibits a “quintessentially American” longing for European identity; as for Eliot’s declaration of his classicism, royalism, and Anglo- Catholicism, “no normal Englishman would have made such a public declaration, for England is a country in which individuals, like governments, prefer to avoid a written constitution” (232).

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