Martian poets

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The term applied in the 1980s to a small group of poets in Britain whose work is marked by the prominence of surprising visual metaphors, similes, and conceits. The leading figures are Christopher Reid and Craig Raine, who both published important collections in 1979: Reid's Arcadia and Raine's A Martian Sends a Postcard Home both transform everyday objects, in a playful kind of defamiliarization. The term comes from the title poem of Raine's book, in which we are shown familiar earthly sights through the inexperienced eyes of a visiting Martian (‘Rain is when the earth is television’). Similar effects are achieved by David Sweetman in Looking Into the Deep End (1981) and by Oliver Reynolds in Skevington's Daughter (1985). This tendency has been called Martianism.

Subjects: Literature.

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