The Reality Based Community

Hugh Foley


In this essay I argue that  increasing blurring of boundaries between representational and the real has been characcteristic of the War on terror. I then argue that has produced a response in contemporary American poetry which attempts to produce a critique by collapsing or undermining these distinctions fictionally in order to draw attention to their collapse in political and military discourse. Looking at several poems which take photography as a theme, I aim to show how a specific genre of photo-ekphrastic poetry has proved partiularly germane to this effort.

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