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In all cultures and times, the poetic imagination has fed on the natural attributes of islands. An island is either a destination, or a home, or a place of exile and imprisonment, or simply a place to sojourn. It is an ideal vehicle for journeys treated as allegories, or for acts of finding that turn into acts of losing, or the reverse transformation. An island is not a continent; yet it can be an archipelago. An island is both a place in itself and a pretext for imaginings that need a local habitation and a name. It can give relief, and pleasure; or it can frustrate, isolate, and negate. Above all, it both invites and resists - or contains or constrains - the imagination.

Islands of Poetry explores how islands become repositories of human longings and desires, a locus for some of our deepest fears and fantasies. It balances historical and geographical reference with a selective approach to poems and poets in English, and in translations into English. The study of particular poems in which islands figure in exemplary ways is balanced by a more detailed discussion of the poets who have played a major role in shaping human responses to islands on a global scale.
Rajeev S. Patke is Professor of Humanities at the National University of Singapore, and Director of Humanities at Yale-NUS College. His publications include ‘The Long Poems of Wallace Stevens: An Interpretative Study’ ( 1985, 2009), ‘Postcolonial Poetry in English’ (2006), ‘The Concise Routledge History of Southeast Asian Writing in English’ (2010) co-authored with Philip Holden, and ‘Modernist Literature and Postcolonial Studies’ (2013). Recent co-edited works include ‘A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures: Continental Europe and its Empires’ (2008), and ‘Southeast Asian Writing in English: A Thematic Anthology’ (2012).

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