‘Poetry does not deserve evil keepers’

Eleanor Careless, Vicky Sparrow

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An introduction to the Anna Mendelssohn special issue of the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry. This collection is based on the proceedings of the Anna Mendelssohn Symposium, held at the University of Sussex in February 2017. The symposium took as its epigraph the title of a Mendelssohn poem: ‘Poetry does not deserve evil keepers’. This title sets down a challenge for readers and critics of Mendelssohn’s work, compelling us to ask: what does it mean to be good keepers of (her) poetry? How is the literary critic to deal with the biographical and political contexts – such as her incarceration for anti-capitalist activism, or the precarity of her later life in Cambridge – which intrude upon readings of her texts? We then sketch a brief biography of Mendelssohn, and discuss approaches to reading her complex and elusive poetry. Lastly, we outline the articles and responses that make up this special issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2023

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