Questions of Postcolonial Poetics
The second chapter, ‘Questions of postcolonial poetics’, considers some of the theoretical, structural, and technical dimensions of the term poetics when applied within postcolonial criticism. In particular, it asks whether an emphasis on literary structures and techniques requires an active separation from the politicized debates that have tended to define the postcolonial field: are there certain purposive, symbolic, and communicative features of postcolonial writing that we might call definitively postcolonial? Drawing on essays by Ben Okri, and fictional prose by Manju Kapur, Achmat Dangor, and Yvonne Vera, the discussion explores the ‘creative principles’ that might inform the construction and composition of a postcolonial poetics (according to the OED definition that stands as the chapter’s epigraph). It also continues the discussion of a pragmatic approach to poetics opened in the introduction, by asking whether it might be possible ‘deductively to identify a piece of writing as postcolonial according to its structural, generic, or metaphoric features’?