Poetry Strand : Introduction
Lorna Hardwick (2007)
Recent poetry in English has a special role to play in researching the role of the past in the human experience of the present and in redirecting investigation to the classical texts and contexts and their interaction with those of the present. Poetry both stands independently as a strand in the Project and contributes to the drama research because of the significance of theatre poetry. It also enables comparison of poetry written for both public and private readings and readerships.
The poetry strand of the research project considers the treatment of Greek and Roman texts and themes in poetry in English in the last part of the twentieth century and the early part of the twenty first. As with drama, we are not rigid about dates but will follow the evidence and the argument where it leads. Material analysed so far suggests that we need to consider poetry written from about 1960 onwards. As with drama, the importance of the creative response is evident at all levels and ranges from Nobel Prize winners such as Derek Walcott and Seamus Heaney to regional and community poetic activity.
The variety of poetic registers and genres suggests a paradoxical relationship to the modernist poetry of the earlier twentieth century as well as to earlier classical receptions, thus provoking research questions about the intersections between different literary and cultural traditions and the relationship of classical referents to the sometimes partly classicized traditions in which the modern writing is embedded (for discussion of this in relation to earlier poetry in English, see K. Haynes, English Literature and Ancient Languages, Oxford, 2003.)
How Greek and Roman culture has been introduced, reworked and rewritten in contemporary poetry is not confined to the reception of the Greek and Latin texts themselves but also includes ancient artistic and material culture, themes, figures and myths. Genres include epic, lyric, parody, satire, dramatic monologues, film-poems, performance poetry and theatre poetry...
Case Study Michael Longley