Poetics of impermanence: Experimental poetries and politics
Alvergue, Jose Felipe
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"Poetics of Impermanence: Experimental Poetries and Politics" outlines the contribution of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Susan Howe, Myung Mi Kim, and Cecilia Vicuña to American poetry during the era of globalization. Specifically, I argue that Cha, Howe, Kim, and Vicuña engage in what some poets and critics call the "new lyric," which describes poetry as the act of representing an American identity in the process of its expression. While the 19 th century lyric relied on formal practices such as cadence and meter, the "new lyric" engages the sounds and rhythms of our contemporary, and often times mediated, public language. I contend that these poets deploy innovative lyric strategies such as video, archival theory, installation and performance art in order to revise the parameters of poetic composition and poetic reception, and use poetry to reflect on mediation and its effects on collective notions of democratic and individual identities. What is novel in my approach is the simultaneous engagement with both postmodernism and postcolonial discourse during the era of 20 th century transnational study, which makes it possible to demonstrate how the "new lyric" constructs an alternative, pluralist site for politics by deliberately mobilizing excluded social identities (i.e. women, ethnic Americans, indigenes, and transnationals). This practice emphasizes the plural and complex sense of the local in order to counter the ways in which global politics subsume individuality, and historico-cultural differences into one singular narrative ideology.