Conjectures At Random: explicit, concrete, partisan :: from James Scully, “Remarks on Political Poetry,”

explicit, concrete, partisan

Politically conscious poets tend to be more profound, not less. Look again at the record. In our own time the three most formidable poets, it seems to me, were intensely “political”: the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, Vallejo and Brecht (as poet). Political in the most explicit, concrete, partisan way. What’s more, their aesthetic achievement is because oftheir politics, not in spite of it. The most credible, full, caring love poetry has been written by one of the most expressly political poets. I refer, again, to Hikmet. In part this is because he can, and does, write of the other—who is never merely an excuse for self-immersion, and who is not reduced, either, to the condition of a delicious ahistorical object.

—James Scully, “Remarks on Political Poetry,” Line Break: poetry as social practice (Bay Press, 1988)Conjectures At Random: explicit, concrete, partisan.

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