CTRL-C: Mark Byers reviews Make It the Same

Mark Byers

Mark Byers’s review of Make It the Same has just been published in The Review of English Studies. It begins:

If textual appropriation is one prerogative of the advanced poet, as T.S. Eliot famously claimed, the work of late twentieth-century poets has been significantly aided by the arrival of the photocopier, magnetic tape, and the CTRL-C keyboard shortcut. In fact, plagiarism and appropriation, copying and remediation, have in recent years become pervasive cultural practices, undercutting the traditional prestige of the original, the autonomous, and the unique. In Jacob Edmond’s brilliant and wide-ranging book, contemporary poetry is symptomatic of practices of appropriation and remediation that have become a fixture of global digital culture.

Edmond’s analysis of the ‘iterative turn’ in post-1945 poetry presents a welcome advance on earlier studies of ‘unoriginal’ writing which have found their centre of gravity in the American avant-garde, including Marjorie Perloff’s Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century (2010) and, more recently, Kaja Marczewska’s This Is Not a Copy: Writing at the Iterative Turn (2018). The American avant-garde represents only one strain of copy culture in Edmond’s book, running alongside (and sometimes overlapping with) similar iterative practices in Soviet Russia, the Caribbean and China. More than this, Make It the Same persuasively situates the ‘copy’ at the nexus of postcolonial resistance, media technological transition, and accelerated globalisation. Copy culture, in Edmond’s view, is both the driver and the epiphenomenon of a transnational, multilingual, and technologically integrated global scene of textual and media exchange.

You can read the full review 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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