Postcolonial Poetry in English

By Rajeev S. Patke | Go to book overview

8
Techniquesofself-representation

Overview

The consolidation of local traditions in the former colonies has depended on the capacity of poets to take on the challenges of selfrepresentation in a cultural climate relatively free of cultural cringe. The struggle to achieve that freedom is here illustrated in three case studies. The first shows African poets from the 1960s and '70s learning to use indigenous myths in a context informed by modernist writing. The second traces the growth of confidence in contemporary writing by women, chiefly from the Caribbean. The third examines the scope for creative overlap between a postcolonial predicament and a postmodern sensibility, as exempliWed by the bilingual work of a poet from South Asia. The extended treatment given his work is meant to show how the literal and metaphorical activity of translation is at work in the spread of modernist and postmodernist practices to postcolonial poetry.


8.1 Modernism and hybridity: black Africa

'Our country is an abiku country. Like the spirit-child, it keeps
coming and going. One day it will decide to remain.'

Ben Okri, The Famished Road

A large proportion of African poetry in English from the period before independence shows a preference for an idiom closer to speech than to literary diction and syntax. As elsewhere in the ex-colonies, poets generally preferred free verse to the metres and stanzas of traditional British poetry. African poets excelled at patterning the

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Postcolonial Poetry in English
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Oxford Studies in Postcolonial Literatures i
  • Oxford Studies in Postcolonial Literatures ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Contents xi
  • Part I - Introduction 1
  • 1: Poetry and Postcoloniality 3
  • 2: Back to the Future 29
  • Part II - The Development of Local Traditions 53
  • 3: South Asia and Southeast Asia 55
  • 4: The Caribbean 80
  • 5: Black Africa 105
  • 6: The Settler Countries 130
  • Part III - Case Studies: Voice and Technique 157
  • 7: Minoritarian Sensibilities 159
  • 8: Techniquesofself-Representation 180
  • 9: Recurrent Motifs: Voyage and Translation 207
  • 10: After the 'Post-' 237
  • References 240
  • Index 259
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