Abstract

Abstract:

Contemporary American poetry by black women writers challenges a theory of metamodernism that would identify the acceptance of “ failure” as a central attitude of metamodern art and literature. Metadmodernist poetry by Harryette Mullen and Evie Shockley explicitly engages the politics of form that characterizes avant-garde modernism; rather than figure political and aesthetic failure as inevitable or even desirable, these writers revitalize formal techniques of modernism (often modernism’s avant-garde strands in particular) in order to offer critiques of state-sanctioned racism and heterosexism. These critiques do not redeem failure by aestheticizing it but rather lay bare the ways in which American society has failed people of color. The varying degrees of attention afforded to such contemporary political concerns by theories of metamodernism prompts the question “Whose metamodernism are we theorizing?”

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 60-76
Launched on MUSE
2018-08-15
Open Access
No
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