In The Laugh of the Medusa Cixous writes, “Because poetry involves gaining strength through the unconscious and because the unconscious, that other limitless country, is the place where the repressed manage to survive... She must write herself, because this is the invention of a new insurgent writing which, when the moment of her liberation has come, will allow her to carry out the indispensable ruptures and transformations in her history.”
It is in this idea, a new insurgent writing - and alongside what we understand as generally problematic for the liberatory potentials of poetry specific to our contemporary moment - that we found friendship and the possibility for an experiment in community. Emerging from a decade in which the qualities of legibility (representation) and transparency (critique) have proven not only useful but paradigmatic to the expansion of that force of imperialism specific to global capital, we poets are left estranged from what have, for a century, been the tools of our trade. We would like to see this as a favorable situation: an intimate relationship of conspiracy, con spirare, the sharing of breath – rather than the blinding panoptic light of legibility and social representation we embrace the haptic space of darkness in which the lines of the evident reveal themselves in new ways. Herein lies a kinship between the written word and community, friendship and partisanship, poetry and relation-as-such. This web of connectivity, this rhizome is what we have staked our lives on. We aim to explore in this space a poetics, a new and insurgent one that is based in the deepest form of collaboration that we know, the building of a life in common. This commonality born of need, that is relation itself, is the weaponizing motion of poetry, of shared breath.
We are not the guardians or innovators of such a poetry – from Italy’s hot autumn to a year of “joyous riots” springing from Nuit Debout in Paris, from Standing Rock to the now perennial insurrections in Athens and Thessaloniki, a new insurgent poetics can be found underway, writing and being written in the dark, with no concern for legibility from the outside. This poetry is one of negation, yes, of violence, fire, theft – but it is also, by way of the same motion, a constitutive force of joy, a line of flight sweeping away identities as new ones arise and collide, even if only for a moment.
This collaborative line of thinking will culminate in a hybrid of multimedia performance, discourse, and presentation. It is our hope that the assemblage of these sometimes disparate forces within a public venue will act as an inaugural gesture, one among many, for this sense of the communal which, in turning away from transparency, asks for new ways appearing and being found.
Jack Eley & Erika Hodges are poets, collaborators, friends & coconspirators living in two different time zones on the same continent of North America.