Location and Address in Vancouver’s New Poetries of Place

  • Ben Hickman University of Kent


This essay analyzes three poetries of place that seek a sense of locatedness, a sense of place that finds ‘here’ defined by elsewhere, and ‘now’ defined by manifold movements. Looking closely at work by Wayde Compton, Peter Culley and Meredith Quartermain, the essay explores the dialectical sense of address in each. Compton negotiates a sense of locatedness that can register particular historical and geographical conditions at the same time as recognising the homelessness of black experiences of place. Culley, meanwhile, interrogates address to explore location as a marginal site of ephemera defined above all as a relation between places. Quartermain’s work, moving through the city while reaching back into its past, simultaneously articulates historical layers and the forces occluding them. Finally, the essay makes a claim for the politics of this poetry as, in important senses, post-avant-garde: concerned with constructions of relation rather than direct enactments of destruction and interruption. 

Author Biography

Ben Hickman, University of Kent

Ben Hickman is Senior Lecturer in Modern Poetry at the University of Kent, and Director of the Centre for Modern Poetry, having studied at University College, London and the University of Kent. Recent publications include John Ashbery and English Poetry (Edinburgh University Press, 2012), and Poetry and Real Politics: Crisis and the US Avant-Garde (2015), also with EUP.