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Svend Erik Larsen reviews Make It the Same

scaled-0x200_larsen_svendSvend Erik Larsen has just published his review of Make It the Same: Poetry in the Age of Global Media in Orbis Litterarum. He begins the review by asking:

Can extremely formal contemporary poetry, working with the minute material details of language, function as a cultural intervention addressing such burning issues as race, gender, migration and social equality in globalised cultures? Can the poetic use of media that per definition work with copying and iteration, such as digital media, transcend the iterativity of the media and open up a new vision of poetry in a globalised media world and of that world itself? Jacob Edmond’s book Make It the Same offers an affirmative answer to both questions.

Through an innovative and thought‐provoking string of arguments it develops those answers by way of detailed scrutiny of poets from China, the Anglophone world and Russia from the last decades, together with shorter references to poets in other languages and from other places; it is framed by a generalising introduction and conclusion that invite readers to look at modern poetry with new eyes. Poetry has often been neglected from a world literature perspective, based on the assumption that the linguistic intricacy of poetry makes this cluster of genres more local, inclusive and even untranslatable than global. The possibility of copying and the potential of multiple variations of copying, translation as rewriting or quoting included, stand out in the book as the basic condition for literature from a world literature perspective.

Larsen concludes that Make It the Same:

triggers new ideas and makes way for new comparisons. This review aims primarily to demonstrate this potential in Edmond’s inspiring volume.

The full review can be read here.


Published by Jacob Edmond

Jacob Edmond is associate professor in English at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the author of Make It the Same: Poetry in the Age of Global Media (Columbia University Press, 2019), A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature (Fordham University Press, 2012), and of numerous essays, which have appeared in journals such as Comparative Literature, Contemporary Literature, Poetics Today, Slavic Review, and The China Quarterly.

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