'Open secrets': Masculine subjectivity and other men's bodies in some late twentieth-century British poetry
Stephen Heath has asked in 'Male Feminism', 'Do I write male? What does that mean?' Contemporary British poetry likes to imagine itself as ideologically innocent, particularly in terms of male subjectivity and masculinity. Masculinity becomes, therefore, something that is hidden in plain sight. This article argues that masculinity is often discussed through the discursive production of other men's bodies and talismanic objects; and examines this in the poetry of Simon Armitage, Michael Hofmann, and Andrew Motion. A man produces the bodies of other men and of boys discursively in order to energise himself for fully active participation in the economy of recognition and judgement, production and critique, on which masculinity relies. The production of these bodies and their subsequent identification in a continuum of 'not-me's' enables a man to judge where and how to perform his own masculinity. In the work of Hofmann and Motion, masculinity is seen as difficult patrimony; while in Armitage's poetry, discursive production itself and, consequently, masculinity are placed, as it were, in inverted commas (p. 169).
|Journal Article Type||Review|
|Publication Date||Feb 1, 2011|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis (Routledge)|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
|APA6 Citation||Kennedy, D. (2011). 'Open secrets': Masculine subjectivity and other men's bodies in some late twentieth-century British poetry. Textual Practice, 25(1), (87-107). doi:10.1080/0950236X.2011.537551. ISSN 0950-236X|
|Keywords||Contemporary British poetry; Masculinity; Male Bodies; Men in literature; British Poetry Post-1945; Gender|