This essay considers how poems and lyrical prose by J. H. Prynne, Kofi Awoonor, and Natasha Trethewey examine the conditions of possibility for a global subject in the light of finality: that which may no longer be prevented nor undone. Revising the tradition of the locodescriptive lyric and the prospect poem, Prynne, Awoonor, and Trethewey use the hill as a location for staging the ethical dilemmas of the putative “global citizen.” From poetic hills in England, Ghana, and New Orleans, the view stretches to accommodate global suffering, inequality, and the lives of others, who, however far or close, shape the contours, the possibilities and dangers, of the poem's immediate vicinity. Far from offering spectatorial mastery to the poet, however, the hill is transformed into the ground and habitation of precarious life. The hill makes visible an alternative trajectory of contemporary lyric subjectivity in which the lyric's “I” emerges from and is shaped by the collective immiseration of neoliberal globalization.
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Walt Hunter; The No-Prospect Poem: Lyric Finality in Prynne, Awoonor, and Trethewey. the minnesota review 1 November 2015; 2015 (85): 144–152. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00265667-3144702
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