By Clemens Spahr
Tackling subject matters comparable to globalization and political activism, this e-book strains engaged poetics in twentieth century American poetry. Spahr presents a entire view of activist poetry, beginning with the good melancholy and the Harlem Renaissance and relocating to the Beats and modern writers corresponding to Amiri Baraka and Mark Nowak.
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Extra info for A Poetics of Global Solidarity: Modern American Poetry and Social Movements
1 Advertisement for Red Poets’ Nite, from the Daily Worker (1928), (reproduced from Nelson/Hendricks 9). 24 ● A Poetics of Global Solidarity global working-class solidarity, capable of contributing to social and political change. Just as Giovannitti’s IWW internationalism was reflected in his cosmopolitan poetry, Rolfe demanded: “We are, and must be in the deepest sense internationalists and revolutionaries; not only politically, but (what is more important to us as poets and to the future of poetry) in our work” (34).
These poets and lyricists carry over the heritage of cultural nationalism and the political legacy of Third World liberation movements into a global poetic subjectivity that addresses the conditions of global poverty in the twenty-first century. All of these poets deal with the disappearance of Third World liberation movements and imagine possible global coalitions that can become the successor of these liberation movements, working from a broader, more inclusive basis. In their attempts to create a new poetics of inclusion, they exemplify Hardt 18 ● A Poetics of Global Solidarity and Negri’s assessment of a growing wave of cultural and political workers believing that “revolutionary politics can begin with identity but not end up there” (Hardt/Negri, Commonwealth 332).
Not only were these authors connected to each other “Blazing Signals of a World in Birth” ● 23 through their affiliation with socialist and Communist politics, they also saw themselves as part of a lineage of engaged, political poetry. 1). Indeed, Giovannitti was considered an important forebear of the Popular Front. In a foreword that did not make it into To My Contemporaries (1935), Rolfe’s first collection of poems, Joseph Freeman (1897–1965), editor of the Communist Party–affiliated New Masses and later of the Partisan Review, linked Rolfe to “the renaissance of 1912” that included Giovannitti, Carl Sandburg, and Vachel Lindsay (qtd.