‘Rebels without applause’
Manchester’s poetry in performance (1960s to the present)
in Postcolonial Manchester
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This chapter focuses on poetry's 'infinite delivery' in the form of landmark poems on Manchester's buildings, pavements and walkways. It examines what Manchester's poetry in performance tells us about the dominant critical pretexts for literary approbation in Britain. Manchester's poetry in performance is often informal and neighbourly in tone and it frequently engages with local history and politics. The chapter considers the wider significance of such expression, exploring what the devolved aesthetics and poetics of the city's poetry reveal about the cultural politics of belonging and exclusion in multiracial Britain. The chapter evokes the figure of 'the neighbour' as a compelling metaphor to describe black poets' relationship with contemporary English poetry. The focus on the neighbour allows the chapter to concentrate both on the cultural politics of belonging and on the extent to which black Mancunian poets and their white counterparts may be considered as 'compatriots in craft'.

Postcolonial Manchester

Diaspora space and the devolution of literary culture

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