On the poetics of settler peoples: Ben Etherington, ‘Unsettled Poetics Contemporary Australian and South African Poetry’, Wasafiri, 31, 2, 2016, pp. 1-4


Excerpt: For the first time, this Special Issue brings to the attention of Wasafiri‘s readers two poetry communities with which many will be unfamiliar: those of South Africa and Australia. These might be regarded as literary micro-climates, which the prevailing winds of postcolonial and world literature often sweep past. Each has its peculiar dynamic specific to its history of white colonial settlement and the effects this had on indigenous African and Aboriginal literary cultures. Each also bears the impress of local idiosyncrasies of personality and institution which do not necessarily track neatly with larger historical and social developments. Often the poets who have gained international attention are not the same as those who are regarded locally as significant. This is an opportunity, then, for readers of Wasafiri to tune into these poetry ecosystems and to hear voices shaped by local political and aesthetic concerns. They hardly follow the grain of societies with reputations for being focused on ‘lifestyle’.

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