Barrier of a Common Language: An American Looks at Contemporary British Poetry

In Barrier of a Common Language Gioia addresses the current disconnect between British and American poetry, the result of America’s growing postwar self-sufficiency in its intellectual concerns. Writes Gioia, “Today…most American readers are not only unfamiliar with current British poetry, but modestly proud of the fact. They do not dissemble, but urbanely flourish their ignorance as an indisputable sign of discrimination.”

Whether British poetry ever regains the importance in Anglo-American literary traditions it had fifty years ago, Gioia believes, will depend on the quality of service it receives from critics, poets, editors, and anthologists who alone can make it accurately heard and understood.

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Dana Gioia’s Barrier of a Common Language is part of the Poets on Poetry Series published by University of Michigan Press.

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