John Kinsella: Activist Poetics

Lines in the sand

David McCooey

 

Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley
by John Kinsella, edited by Niall Lucy
Liverpool University Press (Inbooks), $170 hb, 224 pp, 9781846314698

 

This book of essays by the vegan-anarchist-pacifist poet John Kinsella on the relationship between political activism and poetry raises two big questions: how do we live in modernity? and what is it like to live beyond the mainstream? The first question lies behind the great cultural movements of the West, from Romanticism to postmodernism. Whether writers have embraced modernity or rejected it, they have long struggled with the very conditions that brought literary culture into existence. The utopian possibilities of modernity have always been in conflict with modernity’s material realities.

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Published in November 2011 no. 336

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