Capitalist Crisis Poetry: Lyric Encounters with Neoliberalism in the Twenty-First Century
Pages 147 - 164
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This introductory chapter explores the lyric’s potential as an active agent of change and offers an overview of contemporary discourses on the status of poetry in late capitalist contexts. Our approach synthesizes recent theoretical, philosophical, and poetic scholarship to facilitate a more comprehensive and nuanced analysis of the numerous aesthetic and conceptual agendas of twenty-first-century lyric writing. We re-theorize the nexus between lyric poetry, politics, and neoliberal capitalism in order to think through the ways in which different poetic forms as well as lyric language and practices shape, transform, or resist political and capitalist discourses—but also to reflect on how the lyric and the theory of the lyric have themselves been shaped by these discourses. We propose lyricism as a compelling analytical tool with which to grasp effective and affective dynamics of poetic production and reception, and as a space where the poem can resist simple classification and straightforward commodification. In taking seriously interventionist strategies employed in poetry to tackle the crises triggered or exacerbated by neoliberal capitalism, this chapter is a springboard for contemporary poetics interested in readings of poetry beyond a reductive analysis that focuses either solely on formal features or on content. It is thus of immediate relevance to literary and cultural studies, as well as the social and political sciences.
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