The Progressive Poetics project asks each contributor to respond, in light of something she or he has already said in print, to this question:
“Poetry makes nothing happen.” (W. H. Auden, 1939)
“To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.” (Theodor Adorno, 1949)
Though often cited as timeless, authoritative truths about poetry, those two pronouncements were made at particular historical moments, in particular cultural contexts, and from particular subject positions. But we (choose any “we” from those of us alive now) occupy various subject positions, live in various circumstances, and stand nearer the mid-twenty-first century than the mid-twentieth. It is not self-evident that we should (continue to) defer to Auden and Adorno, so:
What must or might be said now about poetry?