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Avant-Folk: Small Press Poetry Networks from 1950 to the Present$
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Ross Hair

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781383292

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781383292.001.0001

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Opening the Folds: A Pastoral Vanguard

Opening the Folds: A Pastoral Vanguard

(p.171) Chapter Five Opening the Folds: A Pastoral Vanguard
Avant-Folk: Small Press Poetry Networks from 1950 to the Present

Ross Hair

Liverpool University Press

Chapter 5 considers the ubiquitous presence of pastoral literature and art in the late modernist milieu of The Jargon Society by examining its role and function in the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay, Thomas A. Clark, and Simon Cutts. Far from perpetuating the common perception of pastoral as an idealistic, nostalgic, or escapist aesthetic mode, Finlay, Clark, and Cutts’s use of pastoral, it is argued, demonstrate a more knowing understanding, and innovative appropriation, of its complex tradition. In particular, it is suggested that pastoral provides these poets the means for reflecting on the materiality of the poem and for articulating the poetics of the printed format that it takes. Furthermore, due to its close links with Epicureanism and its dense weave of intertextual allusion, chapter 5 shows how pastoral presents an insightful analogy for the social dynamics and collaborative vanguard spirit of the remote small press networks that Finlay, Clark, and Cutts have participated in.

Keywords:   Ian Hamilton Finlay, Thomas A Clark, Simon Cutts, pastoral, folding poems

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