If there’s a common thread running through Parthian’s four new collections, it is the relationship between the universal and the particular; specifically, the sense of community solidarity generated through shared surroundings and individual experiences.
It is as clear now as 50 years ago: Welsh literature of any mode will never attain any cultural capital within the wider UK. There is, however, an ironic power in this. While the fragility of a culture under perennial threat is obvious to anyone invested in it, that it holds no value for a wider hegemonic literary culture is the very element which makes it so vital.
To mark the 100-year anniversary of Dylan Thomas’ birth, Wales has been gripped with an attempt to align the poet’s life and work with the country of his birth. Yet the tying of Thomas to Wales and its national and cultural identity doesn’t quite work here, and belies a quiet desperation to inject a dose of nationalism into a subject that doesn’t quite warrant it.
The act of assemblage, of composition through unifying disparate elements of pre-existing texts, takes many forms in contemporary British poetry, and is utilised to various ends. However, despite the multifarious ways in which this aesthetic manifests itself, there are two overriding functions that assemblage performs: firstly it challenges pre-conceived notions of poetic form and extends the ways in which a text can generate meaning, and secondly it uses this formal and linguistic experimentation to exhibit a certain postmodern malaise in contemporary culture.
There seems in the literature of the post-War period a certain preoccupation with the limitations that literary forms have to a pertinent expression of the issues that artists concern themselves with, particularly in the wake of the turbulence and fragmentation of ideals that have arisen in the period from the Second World War to the Present Day.
We can see in the work of Franz Kafka and Albert Camus a certain preoccupation with issues surrounding death, mortality and the apparent meaninglessness of life.
Throughout the poetry of Philip Larkin there seems evident a certain paradox in regards to the concepts of originality and modernity in his work.
From what we know of Jack Kerouac’s life, in addition to evidence within his poetry and prose, there is on display a deep love, knowledge and understanding of jazz.
Though Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiotic theories primarily constitute an analysis of language, its overriding principles can also be applied to the analysis of literature. Saussure’s desire to quantify linguistic study into something empirical, systematic and scientific highlights the ultimately methodical nature of speech and the construction of language.