Poetry as Molecular Disobedience

Authors: Oliver Dawson*, University of Bristol
Topics: Cultural Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: molecular,Deleuze and Guattari,poetics,affect,non-representational
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


“Words are never the same after the poem, though. Poetry is not about sameness, even though the same refrain might come again and again, echo through the literature.” (Kinsella 2007: 47). This paper explores how poetry short-circuits familiar modes of representation to act directly on thought, pushing it towards a productive disobedience. How might an attentiveness to poetry as a practice “between speech and writing” (Kinsella 2007: 50) condition geographic thought to the possibilities of transversality? Can a turn to poetry act as a probing of the “molecular domains of sensibility, intelligence and desire” (2008: 28) that Guattari deemed essential to his ecosphic project? Experimenting with a Guattarian cartographic approach, and with reference to John Kinsella’s poetics of “linguistic disobedience” (Kinsella 2007: 64), the paper explores how poetry’s multiple ritornellos unleash ‘sticky’ affects constitutive of new qualitative durations of being (Guattari and Genosko 1996: 158-9). These a-signifying dimensions in poetry imply ethical choices capable both of reterritorializing thought through insta-poetry and adverts for building societies, or, alternatively and sometimes simultaneously, drawing a line of flight towards new universes of value that might support the renewal of social practices. Guattari considered poetry in ecological terms to be a disappearing species, conjuring images of polar bears on ice floes in the not-so-frozen north. Rather than focusing on its specific quiddity as an art form, this paper argues that ecosophy calls for the apprehension of poetry’s singularity - its production of haecceities in each encounter – as a pragmatic weapon of molecular dissidence.

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