Fintan Calpin (KCL) - 2020-21 Students

Figures of Separation: Strategies of Mediation in Contemporary Experimental Poetry

This thesis considers how figurative language in contemporary poetry mediates the determinant relations of capitalism as an organisation of society: namely, the separation between people and the means of their own reproduction. In the deepening and perpetual crisis of global economic downturn since the 1970s, as capital’s inability to operate as an engine of economic and social uplift is more keenly felt, I argue that poets have adopted a set of figurative strategies to make sense of fragmented, subjective experiences of class, gender and race as moments within a total system. Surveying a range of poetry from the 1970s to the present by writers from the UK, North America and First Nations, I show how their work attempts in distinct ways to outmanoeuvre the determinations of poetic subjectivity by the objective and abstract power of capitalist social relations.

Primary supervisor: Dr Amy De’Ath, KCL
Secondary supervisor: Prof Andrea Brady, QMUL

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