Merle Tönnies, Joana Brüning, Andrea Sand
October 7, 2016
The paper uses an interdisciplinary approach to analyse characteristic works by three contemporary British authors who come from different backgrounds but have all, in various ways, brought a performative perspective to bear on their poetry: Patience Agbabi, Jackie Kay, and Ben Mellor. The focus is on the concrete techniques which the poets use to construct different lyrical voices in the written texts as well as in performance. With their emphasis on difference(s), they seem to align themselves closely with broader literary and cultural developments like postmodernism or Stuart Hall’s ‘politics of representation,’ while nevertheless repeatedly suggesting the possibility of a unifying centre behind the text. All in all, the detailed analyses of the poems show the authors to take up different positions in the continuum between orality and writing, unity and diversity, as well as political intervention and playfulness.