Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay argues that since the Second World War, poetry written in England has gradually ceased to define itself in terms of country. In the post-war period, the idea of an English poetry was given fullest expression by Donald Davie. In both Purity of Diction in English Verse and Thomas Hardy and British Poetry, Davie identified a specificity in poetry (whether of diction or topography) with a sense of the poet’s responsibility toward his or her community. In both works that community was characterized, in part, in terms of the poet’s country. The essay sets Davie’s discussions alongside Hannah Arendt’s contemporary arguments for an idea of responsibility that takes into account the post-war reality of statelessness, and which thus extends beyond a given geopolitical space. Arendt’s argument is towards a decoupling of thought and language from the categories of nation and country. One finds such a decoupling in Andrew Crozier’s introduction to the 1987 anthology A Various Art, in which Crozier argues that the poets represented in the anthology ‘did not belong to the general category of their national poetry’. The essay considers the implications of such a position and concludes with a discussion of Tony Lopez’s False Memory, a poem which looks to find forms of understanding that are not underpinned by geographical specificity.

Keywords: country, poetry, conditioning, condition, stay, statelessness, syntax

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.