And yet

I want to argue with Neoliberal Poetry and yet it's mostly because their heads are so much in the right place that the few parts that make me uncomfortable make me very uncomfortable.

I am not convinced that the Surrealists, the Beats, or the Situationists were politically effective. I am not convinced that "taunting priests in the streets" and "mocking the bourgoisie" -- though I understand the impulse! -- are, in themselves, politically useful or even humane goals. I am not convinced that "utopia" -- "noplace" -- is a worthy goal, or that anyone who thinks they know what the best possible world looks like should be trusted.

But I do roll my eyes with them at the examples of unengaged poetics they point out. And I do think they have their hearts in the right place. And while I distrust a poetics that aims towards "utopia", I am in favor of one that aims towards improving particular situations, one that is aimed not at poets but at people who aren't aware of how poetry works in their lives, one that is built more on listening and understanding than on writing.

(I'm unhappy with how I've phrased that last sentence. This is all a draft.)


  1. rodney k said...

    Interesting reading, Chris.  


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