What happens when we think of poetry as a global literary form, while also thinking the global in poetic terms? Forms of a World shows how the innovations of contemporary poetics have been forged through the transformations of globalization across five decades. Sensing the changes wrought by neoliberalism before they are made fully present, poets from around the world have creatively intervened in global processes by remaking poetry’s formal repertoire. In experimental reinventions of the ballad, the prospect poem, and the ode, Hunter excavates a new, globalized interpretation of the ethical and political relevance of forms.
Forms of a World contends that poetry’s role is not only to make visible thematically the violence of global dispossessions, but to renew performatively the missing conditions for intervening within these processes. Poetic acts—the rhetoric of possessing, belonging, exhorting, and prospecting—address contemporary conditions that render social life ever more precarious. Examining an eclectic group of Anglophone poets, from Seamus Heaney and Claudia Rankine to Natasha Trethewey and Kofi Awoonor, Hunter elaborates the range of ways that contemporary poets exhort us to imagine forms of social life and enable political intervention unique to but beyond the horizon of the contemporary global situation.