The Politics of Poem / Babak Salimi-zadeh

Translated into English by Alireza Mahvelati

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There are 3 types of poets: first the one who composes poems to refind some thing lost. He/she has lost something and feels nostalgic about it. He/she says that playing games with language to me is the zone to overcome the father and being embraced by mother. To the best he/she thinks of language game. The second one is the poet saying what which has been passed down to us in itself is valuable and must be preserved. Even if there are any innovations, these innovations must be accomplished in the form of integrating what we have already had in the past and what we have gained up to now. He/she composes poems to preserve what he/she has obtained. And the third one is the poet who has nothing to lose. He/she composes poems to indicate what is existent is neither obvious nor eternal, to indicate the existent language itself is the zone of social strike. This sort of language is only one single thing to everyone. If the language, to the superior class, is a zone of demonstrating creativity and emotion, the very language , to the subordinate class, is supposed to be surveyed in favor of their release. I am a poet of the third group. How can it be the project of materialism in poem? What do I mean saying I am a materialist poet? Saying I am a materialist poet, I am not merely meant to pose my own emphasis over the material and essence of poem (words) or literality as “Formalists” say. To a materialist poet the significant is the materialistic production of poem in the society. It is imagined that we are all the products of language games while the language considered as being the substance of poem is indeed a social product, so changing and transforming it will occur in parallel with a social change. The materialist poet considers the material of poem as being the product of a social production. This materialistic product is no longer able to be – as Jacobson believed- nothing but itself, it is constantly infected with viruses. Has my emphasis been on the centrality of the work or as Formalists say “what which has been refound in the text” ? No, I am emphasizing the viruses infecting a text or a work. This is not the issue that each work infects in terms of the viruses being passed but the more significant issue is that each text is the product of a sort of infection. Therefore, the issue is not only the “work” itself. I leave the “work” itself in hand of formalists. We do not ask that what a special kind of poem – as signifier and signified relationship- means? We ask that what kinds of viruses have infected this poem? To what position “outside” it attacks? The defamiliarization thesis of Chklovski was undoubtedly a giant step denying every kind of predetermined principle -as Chklovski himself points out – even principles like “private property”. However, it is still balling around the “sensual comprehension” territory. Since this defamiliarization eventually results in an aesthetic comprehension of work and the creation of a new, fresh and innovative emotion, it comes up with nothing but complicating the process of making comprehension of the meanings and signs significations. This advancement is less likely to suffice as far as my opinion is concerned. I can find a reference to Brecht who, in his alienation effect technique, pointed not only to the way of expression as being unusual, but also to a more significant aspect that is << most of what appeared to be natural and obvious had to be appeared as something artificial>>. We alienate to indicate what is supposed to be obvious is merely what which has asserted dominance in. this a very important issue and provides a crucial role with literature. As Benjamin says if the history is written by triumphant, the literature is the history of the defeated.

I am initially striving for indicating a turn in literary theory. The issue for us is not to emphasize the material of poem, we have to demonstrate that this poem has indeed a materialistic product in society. This poem has been produced somewhere in society and has formed it. Up to now consider this poem as being every kind of poem which it would like to be. Either Hafez or Barahani. And you can recognize a materialist poet from such a point of view.

And now why I chose “the poet” and why I named this “poet” materialist? The poem indicates the material of language practically “Becoming” while the prose indicates it as “Being”. My subjectifying point of view considers a poet who is seeking his/her escape through working on words. He/she works on the words, not to create a new, fresh and sensual comprehension; he/she is indeed working on him/herself through working on poem. He/she indeed measures the territory of dominant language. Then the materialist poet is a “surveyor” above all. A surveyor who, as K in the novel “palace” by Kafka, has not been called for surveying. He/she is the anachronic dropping like the oil from the gears of dominant language. And grasps his/her legality due to the very illegality and his/her anachronism.To discover the territories of dominant language and exploring the code of materialistic production of poem in territory of this language. This is something done by a surveyor initially, his function is the surgery and autopsy of dominant language. Because of this, he/she-above all- must be a “poet”. The poet is someone who can cause a “denial” in working on the land of dominant language and materialistically producing a poem more than anybody else. He can discover the inflammation points of dominant language. Not only because he/she is familiar with facilities of language, but also because his/her own existence is deeply dependent upon anachronism thrown out of an inflammation point in dominant language. The poem is composed when the language structure wants to be blazed up. As I mentioned it does not mean that the poet is familiar with facilities of language more than others. He creates an event like poem exactly because he is unfamiliar with the dominant language. Using Deleuze terms, I have to say that he /she merely “Deterittorize”s the usual use of words. This is not only creativity or new suggestions for the form of poem, but also it means “Politics of poem”. The politics of poem no longer includes the separation between the political and nonpolitical, social and nonsocial poems and so on. Common uses of words, dominant language and so on are all called as being “Destiny”. And the poet is predestined to fight against the destiny. Politics of poem does not say that a special kind of poem is “reflection of the content of a social group will”. It says that a special kind of poem is “the consciousness form of a social group”. Poem is the manifestation of our will over the material of dominant language. Not only a simple representation of what is included in consciousness of a certain social group, but also an expression and viral revelation in form of that social group consciousness.

When do we keep composing poems? When we want to survey the land of dominant language. We always compose a poem in the language which is not ours. And the poet work on the material of his/her own poem includes a kind of alienation. The poet works on a language not belonging to him/her. The poet keeps contaminating the dominant language but into the very dominant language. Therefore, we have got the land of dominant language on one side and on the other side there is the slaves’ poem. Great poets are posed in the shopping window of dominant language, the materialist poets are placed in inflammation points of the very language.


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