The Relation Between Poetry and Poems Is Political, Sometimes
The relation between poetry and poems is an old problem. It involves more than a relation between concept and instance, but even in the most abstract or metaphorical contexts, when poetry seems to shake off the shackles of mere poems, a need for instances persists. In this essay, I consider how this relation is involved specifically, for some theorists and critics, in the historical situation of late capitalism. I then reflect on why that relation should be an urgent concern, not only in writing about poetry and poems, but in poems themselves, and particularly in poems which, in the face of that situation, think about its end.
My thanks to Justin Clemens and Christian Gelder for their help with this essay.