Entries tagged with Occupy

from “The Trouble with Occupy:
Materialism, Transvaluation, and the Symbolic”

Occupy was, and continues to be, an event; we speak of “the event of Occupy” much as we refer to the “event of 9/11.” Occupy poets both participated in the event of Occupy but also continued it as an event through their work, which to a degree anticipated the event in providing terms drawn from poetry. At the center of the Occupy movement was a poetics, one that is not merely represented by its poets or reflected in their work. The spontaneity of decision making, the refusal of hierarchical structures, the advocacy of a “transvaluation of all values” without concrete political goals, the temporal and spatial forms of the movement, its self-understanding as exemplary as much as practical—all point toward a constructivist poetics in which there are no prior givens or certain grounds. My writing on Occupy poetry, too, has had an evental character; what follows develops a sequence of paradigms over several conference presentations and publications as political events continued to unfold. It has not been sufficiently noted that a shift in the register of politics as “event” from Occupy in 2011 to the 2012 reelection of Barack Obama effectively ended the active phase of the movement; since that time, it has persisted as a political imaginary that has been both absorbed into political developments like the Sanders campaign and preserved in an ongoing articulation of poetics and political theory. … More

Document 38: Occupy Poetics

Barrett Watten, “Occupy Poetics:
A Work in Progress”
ASAP, 28 September 2015

This paper follows on a contribution to the EAM meeting in Helsinki that tracked two opposing accounts of language-centered writing’s influence on experimental poets engaged in Occupy movements, specifically Oakland. Moving from a materialist account of utopian possibility realized in poetic form to a combinatorial freedom associated with chance-generated strategies, the essay sought a convergence between contingent decision, radical freedom, and experimental practices among Occupy poets, focusing on poets David Lau and Brian Ang. In extending my argument, I survey a greater range of poets in the movement, beginning with Sara Larsen and Jasper Bernes, to develop a set of terms that interpret Occupy itself as informed by poetic principles. I return to the proliferation of poetics in the various Occupy sites, both to confirm the importance of a poetics of “combinatorial materialism,” and to extend the analysis of my first two examples by alternative concerns more prominent or visible in other poets. … More