Deferral of the author: Impossible witness and the Yasusada poems

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This essay argues that the work of Araki Yasusada, an alleged Hiroshima survivor and poet who was later discovered to be an invention, offers an important example of the potential of heteronyms to satisfy the reader's desire for an author figure behind the text while simultaneously highlighting the fictive status of this figure. Doubled Flowering: From the Notebooks of Araki Yasusada does this by first building up the heteronym of Yasusada, then systematically effacing him as he himself adopts a variety of other voices and personae. The Yasusada poems also serve to expand the range of what has been called the poetry of witness or trauma literature. Critics of those subgenres have suggested that literature need not be historically accurate, nor even refer directly to those traumatic events. Yasusada takes that a step further, offering an example of how heteronyms can be used to offer testimony about events that the actual author has not witnessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-158
Number of pages22
JournalPoetics Today
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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