Contemporary British Poetry: Essays in Theory and Criticism

By James Acheson; Romana Huk | Go to book overview
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Romana Huk

In recent years a number of fine collections of critical essays on Anglo-American modem and contemporary poetry have appeared, among them David Murray's Literary Theory and Poetry: Extending the Canon, whose focus spans the century, and Antony Easthope and John 0. Thompson's Contemporary Poetry Meets Modern Theory, which devotes approximately one third of its space to current British work. 1 Another very recent arrival is Manchester University Press's 1993 volume New British poetries: The scope of the possible (ed. Robert Hampson and Peter Barry), whose narrowed focus on several strands of formally innovative poetries provides the space for some substantial and, in some camps, long-awaited theoretical exploration (which I will return to in a moment). But not since Carcanet Press's British Poetry since 1970: a critical survey (ed. Peter Jones and Michael Schmidt, 1980)— an update on their earlier book edited by Grevel Lindop and Michael Schmidt, British Poetry since 1960: a critical survey ( 1972)—has a volume exclusively focusing on a wide range of contemporary British "poetries" appeared, and never has there been such a book produced by an American press or written by an international group of writers.My coeditor and I have attempted to demonstrate something of the variety of possible conversations to be encountered on recent British poetry; we have done so by following (if rather loosely and, at times, critically) in the footsteps of Carcanet's editors, offering our readers some updates on new developments in poetry since Jones and Schmidt's 1980 volume, as well as a number of rereadings of the contexts and writers that volume featured (or neglected to feature) from new perspectives in critical theory and contemporary philosophy.Everything about our volume bespeaks variousness and not definitiveness: readers will


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