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Poetry in a Global Age$
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Jahan Ramazani

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226730004

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226730288.001.0001

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Poetry and Tourism in a Global Age

Poetry and Tourism in a Global Age

(p.77) Chapter 3 Poetry and Tourism in a Global Age
Poetry in a Global Age

Jahan Ramazani

University of Chicago Press

In a global age of accelerated movement across vast spaces, how does poetry coincide with tourism and how is it distinct? What can we learn about poetry from tourism and about tourism from poetry? Close analysis of key postwar poems self-consciously entwined with tourism as their discursive “other” may suggest possible paths toward understanding an important dimension of poetry in our time. Their self-ironizing literary tourism, which recognizes its complicity in mass tourism yet also distinguishes itself from some of its forms and effects, provides a more nuanced approach than is to be found in sweeping critiques of literary exoticism. Poems by North American and English poets Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery, and Philip Larkin, and by postcolonial poets Derek Walcott, Karen Press, and Arun Kolatkar exemplify the ways in which postwar poetry grapples with its entanglement in tourism, even as it champions its distinctness. Such poetry indicates that transnational literary studies—alongside sociology, anthropology, and cultural geography—may have a role to play in self-critically engaging and rethinking tourism.

Keywords:   tourism, poetry, Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery, Philip Larkin, Karen Press, Arun Kolatkar, Dean MacCannell, John Urry, visuality

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