I was amazed and disturbed to discover Children of Men (2006) last night, thanks to Mike Croley, a dystopian science fictional film that hides in its "nativity" action story a heightened or hyperreal representation of the obscenity of global inequalities, exploitation, walls, ecological disaster.
For poetry and art fans, there are also a saliva-inducing number of allusions to great works of art and poetry (including Eliot's The Waste Land, another text about infertility, social breakdown, and the longing for transformation, though the poem is far more pessimistic and isolationist).
It also alludes to Abu Ghraib, the Holocaust, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among many other historical traumas--all embedded in the frame of this rather conventional story.
This is the sort of art that we need, and one which is almost entirely absent in our poetry. It highlights how far our poetry is from a truly globalist awareness, how hermetic it remains, how bourgeois, how dangerous. I cannot claim to have reached this level of consciousness, even if it were possible, but the largeness of vision demonstrated in this film is the sort of thing I admire in great globalist poets like William Blake, Walt Whitman, among others.
The extras of the film are almost worth the rental fee. Here is one of them, philosopher Slavoj Zizek's reading of the film.
Another provides a kind of theoretical background for the film; it's in four parts, available on youtube, with such luminaries as Zizek, Tsvetan Todorov, James Lovelock, Naomi Klein, John Gray, Saskia Sassen, among others... Be forewarned, it might play upon your apocalyptic paranoia.
I own the movie, but hadn't even discovered the extras. I'ma check them out now that I know Zizek is in it! You're right, "large" is a great word to describe it, although I think its globalist perspective has to do with its self-conscious stance as "political" art; not all poetry wants to (or should?) be political. Though this might be the workshop talking.
How many times have you heard the following in workshops about so-called "political poems" (though I don't think that globalist and political are equal terms:/
1) this is didactic....
2) I don't like political poems, but...
3) you really "get away" with that political move because...
Why are these the terms that we discuss work that is not necessarily immediately (just) about the self or language or domestic or middle class life? Stephen Burt's "new thing" may actually be on my side in this.
Yeah, there's a real resistance to political poems, as there is to narrative as well. Alls I know is I cried basically throughout Children of Men. And that I'm blessedly done with workshop.
Most publishers and poets are so politically correct they're afraid to write about politics. As a result, most modern (and postmodern) poetry is narcissistic. If we are to write poetry that matters, we should heed Lawrence Ferlinghetti's "Populist Manifesto No. 1" and write poetry that matters.
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