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Translating the in-between: literatures of performance and the relationship between language, literature and society

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter



The essay analyses the linguistic structure of a dramatic poem ‘The Story of M.’, scripted by the Black Manchester-based poet SuAndi. The poem offers a retrospective description of the social conditions of life in Northern Britain experienced by a mother and daughter of mixed racial and national origin. The essay considers the relationship between poetry, history, personal experience and social reality. It offers an alternative to viewing literature either as a mimetic representation of real life or as the symbolic distillation of a moment in history. Instead, following Voloshinov (1928) and Thibault (1991), it posits an approach to poetry, and especially to poetry in performance, in which the text engages the reader/audience in a dynamic dialogue whilst at the same time quoting and commenting on itself. Through this process, the poem becomes an active constituent of the reality it depicts. The interaction between narrative frames and the extensive use of parataxis positions the reader as an interlocutor in an insider/outsider relationship with the protagonists and with the events which
have conditioned their upbringing.