Poetic Craft and White-Settler Colonialism

This workshop brought together eminent Australian and South African poets and critics to consider how poets in societies with a white settler history think about their world through their poetry making. The subject is not white settler colonialism as a theme in poems, but as a limiting circumstance within which poets are concerned to develop particular idioms and techniques. How does this particular form of colonialism condition the aspiration to articulate truth in verse? What are the problems and politics of poetic craft generated by the settlement process and its aftermath? By comparing Australia and South Africa, we hope to avoid discussion of national ‘characteristics’, but, at the same time, to head off easy generalisations about postcolonialism or transnationalism. Our attention is on poetry’s material, approached in its regional specificity and through parallels in technical problems encountered during the global colonial expansion and its aftermath.

13 September 2013

Session I

Jarad Zimbler : Guy Butler Reconsidered: Poetics and Poetry in the South African Literary Field
Respondents: Tony Voss and Sam Moginie

Session II

Michael Farrell: Craft: An Unsettled Concept
Respondents: Peter Minter and Robert Wood

14 September 2013

Session III

Ingrid de Kok: “Why still imagine whole words, whole worlds?” Between Parts of Speech and Body Parts.
Respondents: John Mateer and Kate Middleton

Session IV

Ann Vickery : Against Colony Collapse Disorder; or, Settler Mess in the Cells of Australian Poetry
Respondents: Astrid Lorange and Rory Dufficy

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