Contemporary British and Irish Poetry

Edited by Samuel Rogers

Yearbook of English Studies 51

Modern Humanities Research Association

  July 2021

ContemporaryEnglishPoetry


In 1987, C. J. Rawson edited a volume of the Yearbook of English Studies, focusing on ‘Poetry since 1945’. Over the subsequent thirty years, much has changed in British and Irish poetry. A plethora of poetic voices has emerged, and poetry continues to be a vital and dynamic cultural force. Yet the terrain of poetry's publication, performance, and reception has shifted. The digital age has reshaped our relationship with media, altering both the publishing world and the economies of attention. Is poetry anachronistic, or has the condensed nature of the lyric allowed it to thrive in this brave new world? Over many years, the readership and market for poetry contracted, but seem by some metrics to have recently expanded in unforeseen ways. The old dichotomy of the mainstream and the experimental fringe may seem an antiquated irrelevance. But from many standpoints, that limiting dualism has persisted. This is a paradoxical literature, and one for which it remains impossible to meaningfully construct a canon.

Rather than vainly attempt a comprehensive survey, this volume centres on in-depth studies of individual poets: not because they are representative of unified trends, but because their poetries illustrate some of the diverse possibilities for poetic energy. A handful of senior poets (active before the 1980s) will be discussed, and the impact of their later work appraised. However, the overriding concern of the volume is with poets who began publishing since 1980. At some moments, a wide-angle lens offers provisional clusters of writers, brought together by geographical location or aesthetic sensibility. The volume will help to define a set of critical approaches to their work. Scholarly practice has diversified in recent decades, and we have a wealth of conceptual avenues to follow. Questions of space, place, and environmentalism will form one thoroughfare. The relationship of new poetry with other forms of writing, and with cultures of the past, will also be assessed. Collaboration and translation will be highlighted as vital areas of poetic activity. The written word will be situated in relation to visual cultures and speech communities. In sum, the volume will bring together ground-breaking articles on British and Irish poetry in the period 1980–2020, both taking stock and offering fresh understandings of the field.

Samuel Rogers is a Senior Lecturer in English at UWE Bristol. He is Co-Editor of the English section of the Modern Language Review.

Bibliography entry:

Rogers, Samuel (ed.), Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (= Yearbook of English Studies, 51.1 (2021))

First footnote reference: 35 Contemporary British and Irish Poetry, ed. by Samuel Rogers (= Yearbook of English Studies, 51.1 (2021)), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Rogers, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Rogers, Samuel (ed.). 2021. Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (= Yearbook of English Studies, 51.1)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Rogers 2021: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Rogers 2021: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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