By Sutputra Radheye
For the reader: The following brief note is an invitation to all the poets to join the Collectivist Generation, the manifesto for which we will be releasing soon. It provides a keyhole insight into the entire idea. We will be publishing a series of notes before publishing the manifesto.
Poetry has become a slave to the technocratic oppressive capitalists, an object to promote the bourgeoisie, elite aesthetics, an instrument to manufacture distraction from the invisible concentration camps built around our human essence, and to sell the ideas validated by the elite golden-boots as the only true manifestation of the philosophy and questions related to poetics.
Poetry needs to come out of the mirage of linguistic superiority and face the real world. It needs to speak like real, normal people do. It needs to address the issues of the people, the public as a collective. It needs to speak back to the various establishments that surround and dictate us. Poetry needs to be democratized. It should not be a tool of producing platonic pleasure. It should be a tool to penetrate the dialectics, the struggle into the social consciousness of the society.
The time has gone for it to just capture feelings for the beloved or describe a natural landscape. Poetry needs to be political. We must bring down the aesthetic high-towers, the elite intelligentsia, the critics who have grown old and fat deciding good and bad taste for us, the poets who have licked more boots than you have worn. We must bring poetry and art to the streets again. It must speak to common people. It must use a vocabulary that all can understand, and thematically, it should spit blood on the face of the crown, the establishment. It must end the elitist cycle of producing art.
Many have come before us – Hughes, Ginsberg, The Hungry Generation, Nazrul – to name a few and many will come after. But this is our moment. In a populist world, we must tell what makes their ears deaf. There shall be fire in our words of all the injustices, oppression, and subjugation. We must believe that all human beings are truly equal if it is not exploiting others to assert power. Our works should not fall into the rhetoric of false consciousness about our own privileges. We should not only write about the marginalized, but also empower them to write on their own. We are the gatekeepers. We must not let poetry slip far away from the reach of the non-elite.
For us, poetry is for all or none. Why should only a few privileged ones have an authority over what a poem is and what it is not? Why has vocabulary itself has become an establishment? Why is ‘poetry’ seen as an instrument of ‘mere pleasure’ during leisure times? All of it needs to change. And more.
So, this is a call for all the poets to join the movement against the exhibition of rotten privilege over poetry.
Sutputra Radheye is a poet and commentator. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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