A Transnational Poetics
Poetry is often viewed as culturally homogeneous—“stubbornly national,” in T. S. Eliot’s phrase, or “the most provincial of the arts,” according to W. H. Auden. But in A Transnational Poetics, Jahan Ramazani uncovers the ocean-straddling energies of the poetic imagination—in modernism and the Harlem Renaissance; in post–World War II North America and the North Atlantic; and in ethnic American, postcolonial, and black British writing. Cross-cultural exchange and influence are, he argues, among the chief engines of poetic development in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Reexamining the work of a wide array of poets, from Eliot, Yeats, and Langston Hughes to Elizabeth Bishop, Lorna Goodison, and Agha Shahid Ali, Ramazani reveals the many ways in which modern and contemporary poetry in English overflows national borders and exceeds the scope of national literary paradigms. Through a variety of transnational templates—globalization, migration, travel, genre, influence, modernity, decolonization, and diaspora—he discovers poetic connection and dialogue across nations and even hemispheres.
1 Poetry, Modernity, and Globalization
2 A Transnational Poetics
3 Traveling Poetry
4 Nationalism, Transnationalism, and the Poetry of Mourning
5 Modernist Bricolage, Postcolonial Hybridity
6 Caliban’s Modernities, Postcolonial Poetries
7 Poetry and Decolonization
8 Poetry and the Translocal: Blackening Britain
"Ramazani's mission to reconsider poetry's transnational tendencies has been accomplished with perspicacity."—Journal of Philosophy
“A volume breathtaking in its global scope and critical incisiveness. The spectrum of issues and poets treated in this book is nothing short of stunning….Given his enormous cross-cultural, cross-temporal breadth, it is all the more impressive that Ramazani is also adept at analyzing stylistic devices in individual poems—language, structure, imagery, voice, rhythm, allusion, and the like. Yet he grounds this analysis too in the writers’ transnational contexts….Whether on the global or the textual plane, Jahan Ramazani’s combination of multicultural erudition, keen insight, and critical ingenuity renders this book a masterful resource that will be consulted for decades.”
“In A Transnational Poetics, Jahan Ramazani continues to address an obvious but persistent imbalance in the American academy’s understanding of world Anglophone literature. A distinguished success.”
“With a wide scope and with vigor, Ramazani argues that these modern and contemporary poets are not only syncretic, inventive, and worth reading, they are also transnational: they don’t make sense unless we keep in mind their responses to conditions and traditions in more than one country. He is right, and his claim is important because it gives the academy good thematic reasons to pay attention to the formal inventions for which these poets should be known.”
American Comparative Literature Association: Harry Levin Award