Official Criticism? Critical Practices and Australian Poetry


Discussion of poetry's relative cultural significance can and should be localised; however much we might want to follow the overseas debates, national and specific cultural orientations are at least half the story here. What do we do, then, with this diminished thing poetry? The nostalgia for poetry can have a positive valency in this context; it can be mobilised in the service of the demystifying recognition that if we want our own meanings then we will have to make them. Thus poetry has a place in the sphere of representations, however modest, where it can engage with ideological contentions and contribute to the realm of freedom: as social technology (by valuing certain discursive networks and techniques of self cultivation) and as individual agency (through politico-linguistic artifice). We do with it, then, what we can.

The full text of this essay is available to ALS subscribers

Please sign in to access this article and the rest of our archive.

Published 1 October 1993 in Volume 16 No. 2. Subjects: Australian literary criticism, Australian poetry.

Cite as: Mead, Philip. ‘Official Criticism? Critical Practices and Australian Poetry.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 16, no. 2, 1993, doi: 10.20314/als.e994b309ab.