Contemporary British Poetry

Essays in Theory and Criticism

Edited by James Acheson & Romana Huk

Subjects: British Studies
Paperback : 9780791427682, 418 pages, September 1996
Hardcover : 9780791427675, 418 pages, September 1996

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Table of contents


Romana Huk

1 Donald Davie and the Failure of Englishness
Antony Easthope

2 The Poetry of Roy Fisher
John Matthias

3 Poets of A Various Art: J. H. Prynne, Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Andrew Crozier
Edward Larrissy

4 Poetry and the Women's Movement in Postwar Britain
Claire Buck

5 Ian Hamilton Finlay and Concrete Poetry
Nicholas Zurbrugg

6 From Myth into History: The Later Poetry of Thom Gunn and Ted Hughes
Paul Giles

7 Poetry of the Committed Individual: Jon Silkin, Tony Harrison, Geoffrey Hill, and the Poets of Postwar Leeds
Romana Huk

8 "Upon the Slippery Place"; or, In the Shit: Geoffrey Hill's Writing and the Failures of Postmodern Memory
R. K. Meiners

9 "Look for the Doing Words": Carol Ann Duffy and Questions of Convention
Linda Kinnahan

10 Postfeminist Poetry?: "one more word for balls"
Vicki Bertram

11 Bass History Is A-Moving: Black Men's Poetry in Britain
Alastair Niven

12 Accent and Identity: Women Poets of Many Parts
C. L. Innes

13 From the Lost Ground: Liz Lochhead, Douglas Dunn, and Contemporary Scottish Poetry
Cairns Craig

14 Wales and the Cultural Politics of Identity: Gillian Clarke, Robert Minhinnick, and Jeremy Hooker
Linden Peach

Notes on Contributors



This collection of original essays focuses on new and continuing movements in British Poetry. It offers a wide ranging look at feminist, working class, and other poets of diverse cultural backgrounds.


Devoted to close readings of poets and their contexts from various postmodern perspectives, this book offers a wide-ranging look at the work of feminists and "post feminist" poets, working class poets, and poets of diverse cultural backgrounds, as well as provocative re-readings of such well-established and influential figures as Donald Davie, Ted Hughes, Geoffrey Hill, and Craig Raine.

Contributors include many respected theorists and critics, such as Antony Easthope, C. L. Innes, John Matthias, Edward Larrissy, Linda Anderson, Eric Homberger, Alastair Niven, R. K. Meiners, and Cairns Craig, in addition to new writers working from new theoretical perspectives. Their approaches range from cultural theory to poststructuralism; each essayist addresses a general audience while engaging in debates of interest to postgraduates and specialists in the fields of twentieth-century poetry and cultural studies. The book's strength lies in its diversity at every level.

James Acheson is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is coeditor of Beckett's Later Fiction and Drama: Texts for Company, and editor of The British and Irish Novel Since 1960 and British and Irish Drama Since 1960. Romana Huk is Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire.


"Acheson and Huk have gathered a set of critical essays that fairly defines a whole new set of energies and directions in Contemporary British Poetry. It is a kind of watershed document; it frames an historical period that we can now see as having existed between the end of the Second World War and the mid to late 1980s, and it fairly predicts the new impulses and emergent energies of a new generation. " — Vincent Sherry, Villanova University

"British Poetry has not been a part of American literary awareness for some time. A few poets are known and taught, but the energy and brilliant inventiveness in British Poetry since the 1970s is largely unknown. This book offers an entrance into a rich field, and will become an important part of a general reconsideration of British Poetry in America. " — Michael Anania, University of Illinois at Chicago