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‘Whitely’ : race and lyric subjectivity in Clare Pollard’s poetry.

Chingonyi, Kayo (2020) '‘Whitely’ : race and lyric subjectivity in Clare Pollard’s poetry.', Wasafiri., 35 (3). pp. 43-47.


This essay analyses three poems from the oeuvre of contemporary English poet Clare Pollard: ‘The Heavy-Petting Zoo’, ‘The Skulls of Dalston’ and ‘Thinking of England’. It argues that while Pollard's poetry presents jarring, discomfiting depictions of race and racial encounter, their direct exposure of racist ideas and discourses, and their methods of intertwining these with ideas of structured, gendered and nationalistic oppression, create space for critique of prevailing discourses that disempower both white female subjects and those racialised as non-white. Applying the writing of Major Jackson, Richard Dyer and Yusef Komunyakaa, the essay aims to show that the poet's refusal to soft-pedal the prejudice of her speakers shows the insecurities at the heart of structural whiteness; the insecurities that have been used historically to justify racial separatism as a matter arising from biological fact, related to the natural order of things.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Wasafiri on [date of publication], available online:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:01 September 2020
Date of first online publication:28 August 2020
Date first made open access:28 February 2022

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