The Transformative Force of the Postcolonial Line: Protest Poetry and the Global Short Story

  • Elleke Boehmer


The closing chapter, ‘The transformative force of the postcolonial line’, rounds off the question of postcolonial reading pursued under different rubrics throughout, by considering the effect of stepping back and looking again that can be generated by a postcolonial poetics. In selected readings of 1970s Soweto protest poetry and 2010s Spoken Word or performance poetry, in particular of Mongane Serote and Koleka Putuma, and world stories from the two One World anthologies of short stories produced by the New Internationalist (2006, 2016), the discussion demonstrates that postcolonial writing can have the effect of encouraging readers to engage with different postcolonial situations as if from within, as they follow through the inferential patterns that the writing lays down. Against world literature’s assumptions of a general interchangeability across cultural divides, this approach rather suggests that a transformative postcolonial reading practice may lie in soliciting the reader’s attention in specific ways, and in their consequent internalization of the text’s communicative shapes and structures.


Stepping back Postcolonial poetics Protest poetry Performance poetry Mongane Serote Koleka Putuma World stories 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elleke Boehmer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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