Sunday, 23 April 2000

From "Off the Grid: Lyric and Politics in Andrea Brady's Embrace"

by John Wilkinson.

A cellular politics of cultural resistance has reemerged through the anti-war movement and in response to restrictions on mass assembly, circumstances that make ideological purity look narcissistic. Younger poets are ignoring fault-lines opened by previous disputes, including those separating Cambridge poetry from Language poetry; the struggle against US hegemony has accelerated détente with the US cultural opposition. The process began with Drew Milne and Simon Jarvis's journal Parataxis in the early 1990s, but the exchange became more intense with Keston Sutherland's journal QUID and Andrea Brady and Keston Sutherland's press Barque. Meanwhile as teachers in Cambridge, Milne and Jarvis were deeply influential, initiating a move from scholastic theory into a reenergized engagement with critique in the tradition of Hegel, Marx, and Adorno, a shift paralleled among post-Language poets of their generation in the US. Yet for all the strenuous critical and political prose accomodated by QUID and its entire lack of embarrassment with manifestos, a fierce attachment to lyric poetry persists as a declaratiely political practice, as the only mode of writing able to ward off its own corruption.

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