Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “Populist Manifesto No. 1.”
Poets, come out of your closets. Open your windows. Open your doors. You’ve been holed up too long. No time now for our little literary games. No time now for our paranoias and hypochondrias. No time now for fear and loathing. Time now only for light and love. Poets, descend to the street of the world once more and open your minds and eyes. Clear your throat and speak up.
Poetry is dead. Long live poetry. Don’t wait for the revolution, or it’ll happen without you. Poetry, the common carrier for the transportation of the public to higher places. Poetry still falls from the skies into our streets still open. They haven’t put up the barricades yet, the streets still alive with faces, lovely men and women still walking their lovely creatures everywhere. In the eyes of all, the secret of all still buried there. Whitman’s wild children still sleeping there. Awake and walk in the open air.
So apparently this article has been moving around a bit in Facebook groups. The writer is not the first to coin the term ” Poetry is Dead” or for that matter the poetic viewpoint that T.S. Elliot was the game changer. What is your idealism or belief? This is not so much a critique as merely a viewpoint ( *please read first). To me, as a poet his viewpoint is interesting but what he has seriously forgotten is that Elliot wrote Wasteland in a drastically changed world only a few short years after WW1. Hence why the poem & title “The Wasteland”
I see Elliot’s poems as the new siren, the almost near dead, broken muse attempting to somehow comprehend a vast amount of death & destruction in a new world trying to recover 100 years ago. This was the very beginning of our times. A fearful world which now after 2 world wars and the fear of possible nuclear war which we were born into. The old world of our humanity & our full relationship to the natural world disappeared in the fire. The constant is again the word ” Fear” which we still live with in our subconscious every single day. So it is of little imagining as to why we are poets of politics & protest, dark, brooding rebellion and of end times. Eliot was just the first victim grappling with this destitute reaction to a nightmare made reality and its horrors.
Simply put? The event of World War, destruction & the death of thousands was merely a razorblade cutting into the poet’s soul and the realization that we would all never be whole or the same ever again.