Private Experience and Public-Spirited Critique: Brexit-Era Britain in the Recent Poetry of Vidyan Ravinthiran and Nicholas Hagger

Main Article Content

Jeremy Pomeroy

Abstract

Two starkly different aspects of the Brexit phenomenon may be seen in the recent work of two British poets, Vidyan Ravinthiran and Nicholas Hagger. Ravinthiran’s most recent book consists of love sonnets composed for his wife. These are addressed to an intimate “you” which, upon publication, is expanded to vicariously include his readership. In the course of their everyday life as a mixed-race couple in northern England, the context of Brexit occasionally intrudes. When it leads him to communicate something to his wife, the poet organically transcribes these experiences. While ultimately a secondary (if often inescapable) theme in Ravinthiran’s sonnet sequence, the Brexit negotiations are the leitmotif of Hagger’s Fools’ Paradise. Taking his cue from the sixteenth and seventeenth century mock epic, the poet offers an erudite satire excoriating a short-sighted political class. Hagger appears to move easily in such circles, presumably due to the diplomatic and intelligence contacts in his past. Assuming the guise of an insider or pundit, “your poet” provides a meticulous, tactical critique of the inefficacy of foolish parliamentarians.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Pomeroy, J. (2021). Private Experience and Public-Spirited Critique: Brexit-Era Britain in the Recent Poetry of Vidyan Ravinthiran and Nicholas Hagger. Porównania, 30(3), 107-118. https://doi.org/10.14746/por.2021.3.7
Section
Articles
Author Biography

Jeremy Pomeroy, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

Dr Jeremy Pomeroy is a senior lecturer with the Department of British Literature and Literary Linguistics at the Faculty of English of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. His academic interests include Irish Literature, as well as popular culture and poetry in general. His publications include “The Depiction and ethic of pride in the work of Countee Cullen,” “Robert Frost and the eye reader” and “The Elusive blood in the poetry of Allen Tate.”

References

  1. Auden, Wystan Hugh. “In Memory of W. B. Yeats.” The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (Second Edition). Eds. Richard Ellmann and Robert O’Clair. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1988. 742–743.
  2. Coslett, Rhiannon Lucy. “Brexit poetry may not heal our divided nation, but it helps.” The Guardian. 7 Nov. 2019, https://tinyurl.com/3wd4325w. Accessed 31 July 2021.
  3. Eaglestone, Robert. “Introduction: Brexit and Literature.” Brexit and Literature: Critical and Cultural Responses. Ed. Robert Eaglestone. New York: Routledge, 2018. 1–4.
  4. Hagger, Nicholas. Collected Poems, 1985–2005. Hants: O Books, 2006.
  5. Hagger, Nicholas. Fools’ Paradise. Winchester: John Hunt Publishing, 2020.
  6. Ravinthiran, Vidyan. The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here. Eastbur: Bloodaxe Books, 2019.
  7. Ravinthiran, Vidyan. “Victim and Accused.” Granta 154, 11 Feb. 2021b, https://granta.com/victim-and-accused/. Accessed 28 April 2021.
  8. Ravinthiran, Vidyan. “Vidyan Ravinthiran on being a poet.” New Writing North. 2021a, https://newwritingnorth.com/resources/article/on-being-a-poet/. Accessed 28 April 2021.
  9. Shaw, Kristian. “BrexLit.” Brexit and Literature: Critical and Cultural Responses. Ed. Robert Eaglestone. New York: Routledge, 2018. 15–28.
  10. Varty, Anne. “Poetry and Brexit.” Brexit and Literature: Critical and Cultural Responses. Ed. Robert Eaglestone. New York: Routledge, 2018. 59–63.