Multicultural Poetics

Re-visioning the American Canon

By Nissa Parmar

Subjects: Poetry, Literary Criticism, American Literature, American Studies
Series: SUNY series in Multiethnic Literatures
Hardcover : 9781438468457, 292 pages, January 2018
Paperback : 9781438468440, 292 pages, January 2019

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Argues that multiculturalism and hybridity are key components of the nation’s poetry and its culture.


Multicultural Poetics provides a new perspective on American poetry that will contribute to the evolution of contemporary critical practice. Nissa Parmar combines formalist analysis with cultural studies theory to trace a lineage of hybrid poetry from the American Renaissance to what Marilyn Chin deemed America's "multicultural renaissance," the blossoming of multicultural literature in the 1980s and 1990s. This re-visionary literary history begins by analyzing Whitman and Dickinson as postcolonial poets. This critical approach provides an alternative to the factionalism that has characterized twentieth-century American poetic history and continues to inform literary criticism in the twenty-first century. Parmar uses a multiethnic, multigender method that emphasizes the relationship between American poetic form and cultural development. This book provides a new approach by using hybridity as the critical paradigm for a study that groups multiethnic and emergent authors. It thereby combats literary ghettoization while revealing commonalities across American literatures and the cross-fertilization that has informed their development.

Nissa Parmar is Lecturer in Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota and teaches at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She is the coeditor (with Anna Hewitt and Alex Goody) of Mapping the Self: Place, Identity, Nationality.


"Parmar demonstrates her mastery of the immense body of scholarship devoted to the poetic lineage Multicultural Poetics engages. She writes with elegance and tact and displays her ability to simplify several concepts—liminality, the third space, interstitiality—of the most confounding of contemporary theorists. " — Donald E. Pease, author of The New American Exceptionalism