plan b munich flyer

Barrett Watten will read “Plan B,” a poem written in the aftermath of our national catastrophe, over four days in which the intensity of distorted discourse, media frenzy, and psychological projection fused in a mass of contradictions so real one could simply reach out and grab them to make a poem. The resulting work stands as a kind of “knowledge base” for the symbolic detritus of the election and the state of political crisis it produced. The keyword Gleichschaltung is drawn from the German experience of 1933 and is used as a “discrepant analogy” to the imperative not to “normalize” the result of the election—an imperative that continues for many. Both terms appear at regular intervals through the poem. Also evoked is the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald—a 1975 maritime disaster on the Great Lakes (and ballad by Gordon Lightfoot) that is iconic for residents of Michigan, for whom it represents the destruction of the state as well as the wreck itself. One might immediately compare this reference to Gerard Manley Hopkins’s The Wreck of the Deutschland to achieve the kinds of discrepant analogy the poem explores. For the reading in Munich, performance poet Franziska Ruprecht has translated “Plan B” into German, which she will perform. The reading will also present other texts evoking poetry as a “knowledge base,” on the one hand, and as record of catastrophe, on the other.

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