This essay engages the mass publication of poetry—ranging from W. H. Auden’s “September 1, 1939” to Lorna Dee Cervantes’s “Palestine” and Amiri Baraka’s “Somebody Blew Up America”—in the months after September 11, 2001. I label this set of texts linked together by near-simultaneous (re)publication a chronocanon. The chronocanon, I argue, can serve as a means by which an oppositional group articulates its position to a broadly construed public and, in so doing, deploys literature in an attempt to produce a new hegemonic formation. In particular, I focus on the way this chronocanon put forth antiracist and anti-imperialist arguments in an era when racist violence and imperialist tendencies were widely deployed, both by the US government and by many of its citizens. More broadly, I argue that for critics interested in the politics of literature, more attention to mass republication can help ground such claims in praxis.
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Nicholas Hengen Fox; Poetry, Recognition, and Redistribution: The September 11 Chronocanon. American Literature 1 March 2015; 87 (1): 159–186. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-2865235
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