Poetry of the (postcolonial) Metropolis

TU Chemnitz | Sommersemester 2022

Poetry of the (postcolonial) Metropolis

Poetry of the (postcolonial) Metropolis


From modernist examinations of the metropolis to the postmodernist devotion to the sociocultural construction of urban spaces, cultural and literary theories and practices of the last century have been committed to investigating “the urban condition”. Themetropolitan imaginary has especially flourished in the genre of poetry, verse being perhaps more conducive to the fast-paced changes and permutations of city-life and the metropolitan’s palimpsestic spaces.


In this seminar, students will learn to investigate the ‘imaginative geography’ of cities as depicted in various poetries from around the globe. We will pay attention to the representation of place, space and cityscapes in poems on/from London, Mumbai,Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, or Johannesburg. Our critical readings of the poems will be informed by comparative modes from the disciplines of sociology, urban theory, postcolonial studies, the visual arts, music, film and gender studies, and we will pay special attention to issues of intertextuality and interculturality.


Masters students need to have successfully completed their BA in English.

Requirements for credits:

Regular attendance as well as reading and preparing the set texts for discussions is required and part of the Credit Points allocation. The format of this seminar will consist of oral presentations and discussions. Each student will present an oral report (approx. 20 minutes), chair a session or prepare questions for a discussion (PVL: MA_1, MA_3) and write a substantial seminar paper (15-18 pages; MA_1, PL) or take an oral exam (15 minutes; MA_3, PL). Students will be encouraged to also explore their own creative writing skills as part of the class assessments.

Set Texts/Required reading:

Barth, Adolf ([1988] 2005): London Poems. Reclam: Stuttgart.

Schunk, Ferdinand ([1991] 2006): New York Poems. Reclam: Stuttgart.

A reader with seminal material will be provided at the beginning of the semester.

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