Poets and critics address the potential of language to address the increasing level of discord and precarity in the twenty-first century.
At a time when wars, acts of terrorism, and ecological degradation have intensified and isolationism, misogyny, and ethnic divisiveness have been given distinctively more powerful voice in public discourse, language itself often seems to have failed. The poets and critics in this book argue that language has the potential to address this increasing level of discord and precarity, and they negotiate ways to understand poetics, or the role of the poetic, in relation to language, the body politic, the human body, breath, the bodies of the natural environment, and the body of form.
Poetry makes urgent issues audible and poetics helps to theorize those issues into critical consciousness. Poetry also functions as a cry to protest late capitalist imperialism, misogyny, racism, climate change, and all the debilitating conditions of everyday life. Hubs of concern merge and diverge; precarity takes differently gendered, historied, embodied, geopolitical manifestations. The contributors articulate a poetics that renders what has not yet been crystallized as discourse into fields of force. They also acknowledge the beauties of sound, poetry, and music, and celebrate the power of community, marking the surge of energy that can occur at a particular place at a particular moment. Ultimately, Poetics and Precarity fosters further conversations that will imagine the concerns of poetics as a continuously emerging field.
Myung Mi Kim is James H. McNulty Chair of English at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. She is the author of several books of poetry, including Penury, Dura, and Under Flag, winner of the Multicultural Publishers Exchange Award of Merit. Cristanne Miller is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Edward H. Butler Professor of English Literature at the University at Buffalo. She is the author of many books, including Reading in Time: Emily Dickinson in the Nineteenth Century and Cultures of Modernism: Marianne Moore, Mina Loy, and Else Lasker-Schüler.
"Poetics and Precarity, edited by Myung Mi Kim and Cristanne Miller, works variously. The collection is part institutional festschrift, part archival documentation, part response to a conceptual call to think about breath and precarity, and part contribution to an ongoing intervention in the field of contemporary poetry and poetics. " — ASAP/Journal