Spanish American Poetry at the End of the Twentieth Century: Textual Disruptions

Spanish American Poetry at the End of the Twentieth Century: Textual Disruptions

Spanish American Poetry at the End of the Twentieth Century: Textual Disruptions

Spanish American Poetry at the End of the Twentieth Century: Textual Disruptions

Excerpt

Desde su origen la poesía moderna ha sido una reacción frente, hacia y
contra la modernidad (IO)

“From its origins, modern poetry has been a reaction to, toward, and
against modernity”.

Octavio Paz, Los hijos del limo

Poetry, often considered the most “literary” of literary forms, became increasingly isolated from other cultural practices at the end of the twentieth century. Has poetry had its day? Has it proven itself an outmoded genre unable to keep pace with the postmodern self-conscious problematization of representation, of historical metanarratives that characterize much literary production in the late twentieth century? The very “literariness” of its images appears to be a handicap in a cultural world in which visual images, such as those of film, mass media, and the computer screen, predominate. So what does poetry do in contemporary Latin America, and how does it interact with the region's rich array of cultural forms? In this book, I argue that, far from being an arcane diversion for literati, recent Spanish American poetry participates in the fundamental cultural debates of its time. Succeeding chapters will reveal how poetry struggles with the division between politics and aesthetics or between visual and written images, as well as with issues of ethnic, national, sexual, and urban identities, and how it incorporates rather than rejects technological innovations and elements from the mass media.

In literary studies in Latin America, Europe, and the United States, the postmodern questioning of history and referentiality has been readily seen in narrative, film, photography, architecture, and other forms of textual and visual representation; in these theoretical considerations of postmodernism, however, poetry is most often mentioned as an aside, if it appears at all (e.g., Jameson, Hutcheon, Colás, Richard, Beverley and Oviedo). Or it is treated as a separate area of interest, a discrete subject that is not incorporated into the broader category of postmodern literature (as . . .

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