Focusing on works by Derek Walcott, Les Murray, Anne Carson, and Bernardine Evaristo, Katharine Burkitt investigates the relationship between literary form and textual politics in postcolonial narrative poems and verse-novels. Burkitt argues that these works disrupt and undermine the traditions of particular forms and genres, and most notably the expectations attached to the prose novel, poetry, and epic. This subversion of form, Burkitt argues, is an important aspect of the texts' postcoloniality as they locate themselves critically in relation to literary convention, and they are all concerned with matters of social, racial, and national identities in a world where these categories are inherently complicated. In addition, the awareness of epic tradition in these texts unites them as 'post-epics', in that as they reuse the myths and motifs of a variety of epics, they question the status of the form, demonstrate it to be inherently malleable, and regenerate its stories for the contemporary world. As she examines the ways in which postcolonial texts rewrite the traditions of classical epics for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Burkitt ties close textual analysis to a critical intervention in the politics of form.
A Yankee Book Peddler Literary Essentials Title for 2013 'This book in particular challenges the structure of the genre of the prose novel, poetry and epics, and as a result disrupts the expectations that readers may have from these genres. … Burkitt has presented to her readers various ways in which the political, sexual and gendered spaces represented in these works can be extrapolated.' Rocky Mountain Review