Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The chapter considers the use (and usefulness) of the term 'generation' in discussing contemporary poetry. It begins with the 'New Generation Poets' promotion of 1993, and then considers how the concept of a 'new generation' has been used since then by the editors of various anthologies. It notes how the term is regularly deployed as part of an oedipal intergenerational struggle, and how it comes with a sense of built-in obsolescence. Editors claim to be identifying the poets who will dominate poetry for the next ten years - but with the tacit implication that another group will come along in ten years time to replace them. There is also a tendency to focus on poets under the age of 35. The second part of the essay deals with poetry from the 'other tradition' and shows how, far from promoting inter-generational conflict, the editors of these anthologies don't use the language of 'generation': they are at pains to recognise precursors, to acknowledge a poetic career as lasting a lifetime, and to establish a 'workable tradition'. The essay concludes with a consideration of Mannheim's essay 'The Problem of Generations' and its useful disambiguation of 'generation' and 'cohort'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Poetry, 1960-2015
Place of PublicationChichester
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-1-118-84320-8
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2021

Publication series

NameBlackwell's Companions to Literature and Culture


  • generations
  • contemporary poetry
  • poetry anthologies
  • New Generation Poets
  • Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry
  • The Lost Generation
  • The Tragic Generation
  • The Auden Generation
  • New Lines
  • The New Poetry
  • Voice Recognition
  • Ten: The New Wave
  • The Children of Albion
  • A Various Art
  • The New British Poetry
  • Atlantic Drift
  • Karl Mannheim
  • cohort

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