Devotional Projects


via Sanja Grozdanic @sanjagrozdanic


“Poetry can repair no loss, but it defies the space which separates. And it does this by its continual labour of reassembling what has been scattered.”

–  John Berger, "The Hour of Poetry"


Not last summer, but the summer before in London, I lived a short stroll from the Haggerston pub, where James Massiah hosted a poetry night every Monday. These meetings served a similar function to most devotional projects, in that they allowed a group of people to observe a weekly schedule, with a few moments of piousness followed by a sense of redemption and release. It is nice to read poetry because you are reminded of how delicate, desperate and briefly gorgeous life is, or can be. Intimacy begets intimacy, and this kind of transgression facilitates care and collectivity; what we might call mutual aid lately. The production of a shared affect and space for belief is, I think, the ‘meaning’ of art, before the logic and language of advertising was internalized and everything became so dreadful and boring. Poetry is often an expression of anger, longing, or loss, and thus the form might become a good practice or foundation for whatever is to come next.


There are other poems I’d like to recommend that are not available online, for example, Pasolini’s I WORK ALL DAY…. in which an ellipsis is like Wittgenstein’s seventh proposition, holding that which is too sacred for speech: “I work all day like a monk / and at night wander about like an alleycat / looking for love. . .I'll propose / to the Church that I be made a saint.” ; there are poems that are not technically poems, such as Larry Mitchell’s Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions, which can keep you company during your mandated daily walk via Resonance Anarchist Audio podcast… for now, I suggest the following 6 poems for our current crisis, and maybe the next one –


Memo for labor by Ryan Eckes

Against the Police by Miguel James, via No by Anne Boyer

Short Speech to My Friends by Amiri Baraka

from Citizen, IV by Claudia Rankine

Poem Number Two on Bell’s Theorem, or The New Physicality of Long Distance Love by June Jordan

Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore by Elizabeth Bishop


Images : Sanja Grozdanic @sanjagrozdanic


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