Why are so many contemporary poets writing elegies? Given a century shaped by two world wars, vast population displacements, and shifting attitudes towards aging and death, is the elegy form adaptable to the changing needs of writers and audiences? In a sceptical age, where can consolation be found? In We Are What We Mourn Priscila Uppal examines why and how the work of mourning has drastically changed in the latter half of the twentieth century, focusing on the strong pattern in contemporary English-Canadian elegy that emphasizes connection rather than separation between the living and the dead. Uppal offers a penetrating reading of Canadian elegies that radically challenges English and American elegy traditions as well as long-standing psychological models for successful mourning. She sets up useful categories for elegy study - parental elegies, elegies for places, and elegies for cultural losses and displacements - and suggests where elegy and mourning studies might be headed post 9/11. The first book on the Canadian poetic elegy, We Are What We Mourn challenges all previous ideas about the purpose of mourning and will intrigue anyone interested in how mourning shapes cultural identity.
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Number of pages: 318
Weight: 610 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 712 mm
"Uppal brings the critical acumen of a writer of poetry and fiction herself to imaginative and insightful readings of poets as disparate as Milton Acorn and Anne Carson and as relatively similar as Patrick Lane and Al Purdy. We Are What We Mourn brings provocative critical shape to an important body of work." Leslie Monkman, professor emeritus, English, Queen's University
"We Are What We Mourn represents the first book-length study of the English-Canadian elegy, offering readers a compelling survey of selected poets' elegiac works since 1967." Dalhousie Review
"Uppal is perfectly suited to make this contribution. A successful poet herself, she is a careful and elegant reader of verse, and a scholar who has obviously read across Canadian history, and theories of mourning and the elegy." Canadian Literature