Cloth $32.50 ISBN: 9780226703442 Published May 2009
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226703374 Published August 2009

A Transnational Poetics

Jahan Ramazani

Jahan Ramazani

240 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2009
Cloth $32.50 ISBN: 9780226703442 Published May 2009
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226703374 Published August 2009

Poetry is often viewed as culturally homogeneous—“stubbornly national,” in T. S. Eliot’s phrase, or “the most provincial of the arts,” according to W. H. Auden. But in A Transnational Poetics, Jahan Ramazani uncovers the ocean-straddling energies of the poetic imagination—in modernism and the Harlem Renaissance; in post–World War II North America and the North Atlantic; and in ethnic American, postcolonial, and black British writing. Cross-cultural exchange and influence are, he argues, among the chief engines of poetic development in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.

            Reexamining the work of a wide array of poets, from Eliot, Yeats, and Langston Hughes to Elizabeth Bishop, Lorna Goodison, and Agha Shahid Ali, Ramazani reveals the many ways in which modern and contemporary poetry in English overflows national borders and exceeds the scope of national literary paradigms. Through a variety of transnational templates—globalization, migration, travel, genre, influence, modernity, decolonization, and diaspora—he discovers poetic connection and dialogue across nations and even hemispheres. Exceptionally wide-ranging in scope yet rigorously focused on particulars, A Transnational Poetics demonstrates how poetic analysis can foster an aesthetically attuned transnational literary criticism that is at the same time alert to modernity’s global condition.

American Comparative Literature Association: Harry Levin Award

View Recent Awards page for more award winning books.
Michael North, University of California, Los Angeles

“In A Transnational Poetics, Jahan Ramazani continues to address an obvious but persistent imbalance in the American academy’s understanding of world Anglophone literature. A distinguished success.”

Stephen Burt, Harvard University

“With a wide scope and with vigor, Ramazani argues that these modern and contemporary poets are not only syncretic, inventive, and worth reading, they are also transnational: they don’t make sense unless we keep in mind their responses to conditions and traditions in more than one country. He is right, and his claim is important because it gives the academy good thematic reasons to pay attention to the formal inventions for which these poets should be known.”

"Offering an insightful study of transnational poetics, Ramazani links modernity, transnationalism, and postcolonialism through a network of writers as they find themselves in a multiculture of global technologies and the remnants of the British empire....Enjoyable as well as important."
Beerendra Pandey | Journal of Philosophy

"Ramazani's mission to reconsider poetry's transnational tendencies has been accomplished with perspicacity."—Journal of Philosophy

ACLA, Harry Levin Prize Citation, 2011 winner

“A volume breathtaking in its global scope and critical incisiveness. The spectrum of issues and poets treated in this book is nothing short of stunning….Given his enormous cross-cultural, cross-temporal breadth, it is all the more impressive that Ramazani is also adept at analyzing stylistic devices in individual poems—language, structure, imagery, voice, rhythm, allusion, and the like. Yet he grounds this analysis too in the writers’ transnational contexts….Whether on the global or the textual plane, Jahan Ramazani’s combination of multicultural erudition, keen insight, and critical ingenuity renders this book a masterful resource that will be consulted for decades.”




1          Poetry, Modernity, and Globalization
2          A Transnational Poetics

3          Traveling Poetry

4          Nationalism, Transnationalism, and the Poetry of Mourning

5          Modernist Bricolage, Postcolonial Hybridity

6          Caliban’s Modernities, Postcolonial Poetries

7          Poetry and Decolonization

8          Poetry and the Translocal: Blackening Britain

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