By Dennis Brown
The Poetry of Postmodernity reappraises key Anglo/American poets of the final fifty years within the gentle of debates in regards to the postmodern state of affairs. It bargains clean serious insights into how their literary contribution provides cogent expression to either the socio-cultural chances and the worldwide difficulties of our contemporary prior, our obvious current and our possible destiny. The poets thought of are overdue Auden, Ginsberg, Plath, Berryman, Hughes, Hill, Ashbery and past due R.S. Thomas.
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Additional resources for The Poetry of Postmodernity: Anglo/American Encodings
A phrase much bandied about in the Britain of the eighties by admirers of such as Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher. One learnt at school that "matter can neither be created nor destroyed": nor can wealth; it is merely a redistribution of resources ultimately dependent on (finite) nature. Adam Smith enquired into the "Wealth of Nations"- not its "creation". "Explanation means ex plane, that is to say, the opening out of things on a plain surface ... the intellect distorts reality ... because it persists in unfolding things out in space" (T.
Auden we know, thought it about the best thing he had ever done: 11 one can see why; apart from the extraordinary execution, the method is prophetically fertile. However, there is still the "Postscript" in which Ariel woos Caliban, echoed by the prompter. This is a fine lyric which looks back to Shakespeare through Lawes and Dryden. Yet its message may be more postmodern than the comparison suggests. Ariel and Caliban represent binary oppositions, yet such contrastive parti~lities may come together in the sigh of desire for the ultimate signified.
The last stanza constitutes a hymn to the natural, biological processes which underlie and sustain the human melodrama: "At the right moment, essential fluids I Flow to renew exhausted cells ... ". This is a holistic conclusion evoking a finally poignant deer- but not excluding the comicality of "smug hens". As often, the Auden caritas comes spiced with good humour. "Vespers" is perhaps the most strikingly unusual section of the poem: the most polarised by attitudinal oppositionality and the one most, therefore, in need of Hermetic negotiation between "different fibs".
The Poetry of Postmodernity: Anglo/American Encodings by Dennis Brown