Most studies of post-War Spanish poetic production (1939-1975) have maintained the binary opposition between committed and evasionist poetry. As a result of this, most critics have described the work of the poets belonging to the Generation of 1968 as poetry that avoids the social issues of the years leading up to Spain's transition to democracy. My dissertation seeks to articulate the complex and subtle nature of the relationship between poetry and politics and highlight the many shades of gray that lie between the black and white categories employed by most critics.
My analyses will focus on the work of four poets: Jenaro Talens (1946), Jorge Urrutia (1945), Eduardo Hervás (1950-1972), and José-Miguel Ullán (1944). Although in general they have not received as much critical attention as the better-known novísimos, the work of these four poets displays many characteristics associated with that of the nine poets included in José María Castellet's 1970 anthology. Rather than merely denouncing the injustice and oppression perpetrated by the Franco regime, their work looks beneath the visible surface and examines the underlying power structures in play as well as the discursive mechanisms they use to reproduce themselves throughout society.
They extend their critique to discursive practices on both the right and the left, and highlight the problematic nature of emancipatory efforts that results from the tenacity of the regime's official language.
The books of poetry in this study interrogate and critique the poetic and theoretical foundations of social poetry, analyze the construction and maintenance of discursive formations, examine and resist the social institutions and Ideological State Apparatuses based on these discursive formations, and present a defamiliarization of traditional Marxist identity and leftist commitment.
The present study attempts to open up new possibilities for the study of poetry and its interaction with society, and more specifically, new possibilities for the study of poetry on the left, demonstrating that there is no such thing as one way of writing literature engaged with the social and the political.