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Speaking to YouContemporary Poetry and Public Address$
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Natalie Pollard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657001

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657001.001.0001

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Old Authentic Words: You, Them, & Us

Old Authentic Words: You, Them, & Us

(p.131) 6 Old Authentic Words: You, Them, & Us
Speaking to You

C. H. Sisson

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers both the respects in which Sisson's address succeeds in, and in which it falls considerably short of, breathing new life into Eliotic and Poundian forms and styles, testing out Sisson's adeptness in revisiting what Eliot had seen as the fruitful combination of passion and intellect in early modern address forms. Sisson's publicly and personally minded addresses are read alongside those conducted by contemporary poets, notably Dunn and Tony Harrison, whose work also probes the politics of the seventeenth-century epigrammatic tradition, and assesses address's link with nationhood and propaganda in the present. Finally, this chapter considers what is at stake in the interplay between Modernist and Movement impulses in this range of late twentieth-century poetic addresses. It lays out a few problems both with Sisson's handling of public address forms, and with his credentials, as Donald Davie sees it, as a poet ‘in the line of the great modernists’.

Keywords:   Douglas Dunn, Tony Harrison, epigrammatic, address, public, private, speech

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