Left Melancholy Poetry: The Greek Generation of the 2000’s

Here are ten distinct features of the new writers included in the brand-new splendid anthology Futures: Poetry of the Greek Crisis (2015), edited & translated by Theodoros Chiotis:

  1. An Anglophone poetry. Whether it is written in Greek or English, it is a poetry conversing with (mostly) English-language literature and thought, and therefore it speaks (mostly) English. It is written in a manner that makes it sound already under translation.
  1. A translingual poetry. It draws on several idioms and codes, from graffiti to rap, advertising to tweeting. It reverberates simultaneously on several registers. Its Greek is global, its transmission multidimensional. It is emitted, not intoned.
  1. An intermedial poetry. It interacts with all the other arts, especially the visual, but also with aural, tactile, architectural, and virtual ones. Thus it traverses domains and circulates among media, questioning normative notions of literariness.
  1. A performative poetry. It is embodied and acted up, mimicked and queered, deformed and dramatized. It appears in series, festivals, cafes, installations, sites, and happenings. Instead of quoting them, it de-cites and refunctions its sources.
  1. A precarious poetry. Taking formal risks, it escapes artistic integration and aesthetic integrity. The trajectory of its texts is uncertain, its course inconclusive, its destination precarious. Any outcome relies on active audience collaboration.
  1. An operative poetry. It is a reactivating operation that seeks to render techno-discursive communication inoperative by resisting abstraction and automation and revitalizing the sensuous function of language within the social body.
  1. An emergent poetry. Its verses are propelled by successive emergencies and remain suspended in a continuous state of exception. Neither constitutive nor destructive, it pulsates with the destituent power of the transitory and liminal in flight.
  1. A melancholic poetry. It rhapsodizes the post-emancipatory Left melancholy under conditions of neo-colonialism. It is not a poetry of defeat and despair but of diremption and dispossession, of revolutionary implosion and the un-Occupiable revolt.
  1. A molecular poetry. It assembles verbal haecceities in rhizomatic formations; it conducts advanced research; it engages in systematic critical writing; it expands in overlapping intellectual circles; it enacts Semiotext(e)’s “Interventions” book series.
  1. A communal poetry. This is a chant of the commons and a song of friends. During a severe and multiple crisis, against all odds, it seeks to build agonistic solidarity and found a shared good life among the ruins of origin (national tradition) and destiny (messianic modernity).


To me all this trenchant creative action makes even more sense when I read, hear, and watch it in light of my broad collaborations with Dr. Pantelis Polychronidis, my “other self.”

November 13, 2015

Greek translation:   https://frmk.gr/2016/06/17/valamprop-leftmelanpoetry/

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