'The Americans, baby' by Laurie Duggan

by
November 1994, no. 166

'The Americans, baby' by Laurie Duggan

by
November 1994, no. 166

When I started publishing my poems back in the early 1970s, I did so amidst a concern that Australian poetry was being Americanised: Coca-Cola, the pizza parlour, and the rock and rollers’ preoccupation with that thing called ‘lurve’ had swept all that was pure and true into the trashcan of history, and we with our Olsons, O’Haras, and Berrigans were unwitting accomplices to this annulling of our own birthright. My defence at the time would have been, ‘well, we’re taking aboard all that’s repulsive in American culture: their military and economic theses, their particular variety of consumerism, and no-one is protesting much about this – so why do they get so upset when we pick up on something of value from that culture?’ American artists themselves had absorbed things from other cultures without anyone there worrying about it. A great deal of the motivation behind the ‘New York School’ came from the French surrealists, though in translation surrealism had its more harebrained ideological aspects removed painlessly. In fact this ‘translation’ was a model of cultural appropriation, showing what a sea-change (and a change of tongue) can do to some seemingly immutable items.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.