‘In Different Voices’: Modernism Since the 1960s

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although the era of modernist poetry is often thought to have ended at the mid-century, its experimental spirit has continued to raise questions about lyric voice in post-war Britain. A history of contemporary innovative practice may be framed by Peter Howarth’s notion of the hundred-year ‘poetry wars’, which began with the attack of poets such as Eliot and Pound on the discursive formalism of Georgian verse. Since the 1960s, poets such as J. H. Prynne and Tom Raworth have looked to the modernist fragmentation of diction and form as an alternative model of intellectual and aesthetic ambition to the prevailing naturalism of Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes. Influenced by American avant-garde poetics, the ‘British Poetry Revival’ of this time established a wide field of experimental writing—sometimes described as ‘late modernism’—which encompasses pastoral and topographical verse, political critique, and postmodern textual otherness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry
EditorsPeter Robinson
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199596805
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • modernism
  • poetry
  • contemporary
  • experimental
  • postmodernism
  • innovative
  • avant-garde
  • British
  • American

Cite this