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Herewith the (Auto) Razó: Activism and the Poet

Herewith the (Auto) Razó: Activism and the Poet

(p.1) Chapter 1 Herewith the (Auto) Razó: Activism and the Poet
Activist Poetics
Liverpool University Press

This chapter is an (auto) razó for an activist poetics. Here, Kinsella shares that before he takes a public action — write a letter of complaint, give a public lecture, attend a protest — he inevitably writes a poem on the subject. Poems usually follow the action too. And might continue to do so long after the event or issue has passed. The writing of poems becomes part of a mantra of witness and empowerment. Often, poems form a visceral and literal part of a protest. The chapter explores two recent activist issues and then charts their appearance and digressions in poetry. The issues are: visiting a forest protest site in the Arcadia jarrah forest in the southwest of Western Australia to lend support to activists; and involvement in a recent Indymedia discussion/protest against the use of violence by activists at the G20 conference held recently (November 2006) in Melbourne. Each of these ‘actions’ involved the writing of prose and poetry.

Keywords:   John Kinsella, activist poetics, poets, activism, protest, poetry writing, prose, public action

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