Make It the Same Makes MSA Book Prize shortlist

I’m delighted and stunned that Make It the Same has made the shortlist for the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize. I’m very grateful to the judges, Gayle Rogers, Leah Flack, and Elizabeth Sheehan, for placing my book in such wonderful company and for what they have written about Make It the Same:

To praise the originality of Jacob Edmond’s account of modern poetry might sound rather ironic given the premise of the book, but the sheer ingenuity on display—as Edmond assembles poets from dozens of countries, poems in multiple platforms, and a dizzying array of technologies—is truly impressive.  We now appreciate the unoriginality that Pound intended in “Make it new,” but Edmond shows how poetry can be reproduced, chopped, appropriated, hacked, retranslated, and otherwise remediated in ways that Pound could not have imagined in the pre-digital era.  What this introduces, too, is a new velocity of reproduction and reproducibility: poetry circulates unoriginally—yet with great creativity—in an instant, Edmond shows, from the Caribbean to China to Russia to the United States and back in the blink of an eye.  And it does so in wildly unexpected circuits: part of the book’s beauty is its ability to unpack putatively high and low forms, from the experimental avant-garde to cutup Twitter poems, in which poetry now travels.  But there is nothing either Romantic or romantic about Edmond’s book; instead, it is a canny story of media itself in an age of Western dominance, of poetry’s imbrication in it and response to it, and of authors like M. NourbeSe Philip, Yi Sha, Caroline Bergvall, and Dmitri Prigov—along with many others—formulating and reformulating adaptable poetics that anonymous contributors around an unequal world continue to remix daily.  The book therefore takes seriously its work to demystify, through its motif of the paradoxical “master copy,” our own enduring stories of originality that the media environments we inhabit every minute remind us must constantly be rethought.

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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