Martian poetry

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For poetry dealing with Martians or other extraterrestrials see Aliens in Poetry
Martian poetry was a minor movement in British poetry in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Poets most closely associated with it are Craig Raine and Christopher Reid. The term Martianism has also been applied more widely to include fiction as well as to poetry. The word martianism is, coincidentally, an anagram of one of its principal exponents: Martin Amis. Amis promoted the work of both Raine and Reid in the Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman.


The poet James Fenton was first to use the term in a short article in the New Statesman entitled 'Of the Martian School'.Review in the New Statesman, 20 October 1978, age 520. See O'Brien, note 8 on page 300


Through the heavy use of curious, exotic and humorous visual metaphors, Martian Poetry aimed to break the grip of 'the familiar', by describing ordinary things in unfamiliar ways, as though, for example, through the eyes of a Martian. For instance, books and their effects upon readers are described by Raine as...

mechanical birds with many wings
perch on the hand
cause the eyes to melt
or the body to shriek without pain

This drive to make the familiar...
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