Tuesday 30 March 2010

Transatlantic (Dis)connections

"I have been making, I think, a familiar literary-historical claim about American poets and the British past: a claim that has no place, as American poets too often have no place, for the British present. Yet its largely sociological explanations seem to me insufficient - though perhaps necessary - if we are trying to explain how these bodies of literature [ie British and American poetries] diverged. American poets who settle in Britain seem to write either in a wholly British line of influence (Eva Salzman, for example, or the late Michael Donaghy) or else in a line that seems, as yet, wholly American (though keep an eye on Carrie Etter)."

Stephen Burt, 'Transatlantic Disconnections, or, The Poetry of the Hypotenuse' (PN Review 190 (36.2): 20-29)

Thanks to Andrew Bailey for bringing this passage to my notice. I'd be glad to understand how the British influence has manifested in my poetry--any takers?


  1. I'm not entirely sure I even understand what he is arguing. Maybe I need to read the whole piece.
    What qualifies a poem to be "British" as opposed to "American"?

    I'm not sure I could answer your question because I haven't read any of your poetry pre-Britain, unless you can tell me what in your collections was written before you moved here.

  2. Hi, Cat. Burt is just basing his comment on my work in The Tethers, in which he says he sees the beginning of a British influence.