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(note: this is a response to a message on the buffalo poetics list from Amy King re a poll taken in the UK
I thank Amy for sending this as i found it thought provoking in many ways.
The original message is as here--

Britons are baffled by poetry, with many saying they live in fear of being asked to recite a poem in public, research has found.

Seven in 10 (73%) are "scared" by the genre, according to a
poll of 1,500 adults, while two thirds (67%) admit reading and reciting
poetry leave them tongue-tied.

there were no comments, simply this note.
Personally I like finding such things as some provocative facts placed out their in the winds to see what may be some responses re what I took to be the issue of "fear of poetry/poetry of fear."

For reasons beyond me the note apparently provoked many attacks, from what i can glean of the matter, y it's being sent by a woman. Fortunately the attacks led to a very good discussion of Feminism, Feminist Writing, and Feminist Writing blogs.
Here is a link to an excellent blog and its description and address as posted by Amy King where many of the responses re the Feminist and Feminist writing issues appeared

he women of Delirous Hem [] have recently been discussing the dynamics of such exchange as well as how men and women are actually advancing a feminist poetics. This line of inquiry has even led a few to wonder aloud (via their blogs) just what a feminist poetics is and how to promote it. Even a few men aren't afraid of the notion that we need new models of exchange, which is a poetics too. Feminist modes of thinking and operating may not, after all, be for women only. I don't have the answers, but feminist imaginings may actually provide models by which we can jump start a listserv that seems to have grown quiet in exchange, even by initially asking, Just what can feminist thinking make us aware of and what models for discussion might we use? What is a feminist poetics, exactly? What are the aims of feminist-minded poets? ... Some excerpts from the Delirous Hem responses


Britons are baffled by poetry, with many saying they live in fear of being asked to recite a poem in public, research has found.

Seven in 10 (73%) are "scared" by the genre, according to a
poll of 1,500 adults, while two thirds (67%) admit reading and reciting
poetry leave them tongue-tied.

American Muslim Mother mourns US Soldier Son Killed in Iraq



Black Sunday: Terrorist Attack Stadium, Crowds during the Super Bowl!!!!

The phrase which initiated this discussion was "fear of poetry," which has been so little discussed since, that one wonders if this is not a "given," rather than perhaps having a good deal of potential for investigation and questioning--
sometimes the very "unquestioning" acceptance of phrases may provoke in itself a questioning--

in this age of continual Fear mongering and inciting, imposing--it is not possible that what one is being presented with in this poll is the other way round?
that is:
that it is POETRY which is IN fear--
and also that it is quite possible there may exist a Poetry of Fear
and, in turn a Poetry FOR Fear--

the "fear of poetry" then may not be an indication of a "given" but the symptom of FEAR which is continually made more frightening by the controlling forces within that society--

Marines & Guards--Kandahar--first Torture Stop before Rendition Flights to Guantanamo & Elsewhere)

(see also as relative to the below:

David-Baptiste Chirot: "Waterboarding & Poetry"
Wordforword #13 Spring 2008
(also has Visual Poetry by chirot)

Kaurab Translation Site
Poems from Guantánamo
The Detainees Speak
David Baptite Chirot

"Fear of poetry"--

the first thought that occurred to me regarding fear, as this poll is in the UK--
is how incredibly saturated by surveillance the British people are', the most so in the world, and that they experienced bombings in their midst more recently and quite differently from the 9//11 in the usa--
and that some of the bombers are persons living with in the UK, not as "illegal aliens always, but often as second and third generation immigrants who are British citizens themselves--

Americans are or should be familiar with this kind of bomber--Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, the little recalled fact that in the US in 1970 there were 5,000 incidents of bombing, and historically there was the heyday of bombings first by primarily Galleanisti--the first car Bomb is attributed to Mario Buda aka Mike Boda--who on 16 September blasted Wall Street to the tune of 37 dead and hundreds of injured--while in 1917 in Milwaukee he is thought to be behind the bombing which unintentionally became the killer of 7 policemen and a number of civilians

Mario Boda/Mike Buda--(under the latter name "appears" in the testimony and transcripts of the Sacco & Vanzetti Trial; the Wall Street Bombing came five days after
9/11 1920--day of the indictment of Sacco & Vanzetti)

(the Milwaukee bomb was found outside a Church, and carried by the police to the station, where it then suddenly exploded)

First Car Bombing: Wall Street 16 september 1920
thought to be in revenge 7 a Call to Arms for
9/11/1920 indictment of Sacoo & Vanzetti--

soon to follow were the use of explosives in Chicago and environs caused by rivals gangs vying for control of the bootlegging racket--today replaced y the primarily Crack racket--Chicago being one of the central points" from which the drug is distributed--

However, these parts and aspects of history are for the most part suppressed and or/omitted --as the role of the US Government in the incendiary exterminating conflagration of Waco generally is--
(at Waco n the weeks preceding the fire-- and during the stand off in Panama preceding the arrest an extraditing of Noriega, many of the torture techniques using light and sound were "tried out" and later adapted for use through out the US secret prisons and those "open" ones such Guantanamo, Abu-Ghraib and Bagram and also in Gaza and many others--

Of course, during the Presidential Primaries and Campaign, the RNC and Fox Network began their non stop coverage of the "close ties" between Senator Obama and former Weather Underground Member & Bomber-turned-College Professor Bill Ayers; apparently living in the same neighbor and having once been ata recption in thehome of Bill Ayers qualified the Senator as yet another "Mad Chicago Bomber," more in the Chicago Haymarket Bombing/Unabomber Mode than that of Al Capone & friends, of course

Monday, October 06, 2008
The Obama Ayers Relationship

(EXCERPTS from scare tactics list--

* While Obama And Ayers Were Serving On The Woods Fund Together, Ayers Posed Standing On An American Flag For An Article In Chicago Magazine Entitled "No Regrets." (Marcia Froelke Coburn, "No Regrets," Chicago Magazine, 8/01)

Obama And Ayers Are Neighbors In Chicago's Hyde Park Neighborhood. "Twenty-six years later, at a lunchtime meeting about school reform in a Chicago skyscraper, Barack Obama met Mr. Ayers, by then an education professor. Their paths have crossed sporadically since then, at a coffee Mr. Ayers hosted for Mr. Obama's first run for office, on the schools project and a charitable board, and in casual encounters as Hyde Park neighbors." (Scott Shane, "Obama And '60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths," The New York Times, 10/4/08)

* Obama Spokesman Ben LaBolt Told The New York Times That Last Year Obama And Ayers "Bumped Into Each Other On The Street In Hyde Park." "[Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt] said they have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005 and last met more than a year ago when they bumped into each other on the street in Hyde Park." (Scott Shane, "Obama And '60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths," The New York Times, 10/4/08)

* Neighbors Have Said "It's Only Natural" That Obama Would Know Ayers, Who Often Opens His Home For Gatherings, As Obama And His Wife "Are A Part Of Our Neighborhood And Part Of Our Social Circle." (Trevor Jensen, Robert Mitchum and Mary Owen, "Bill Ayers' Turbulent Past Contrasts With Quiet Academ ic Life," Chicago Tribune, 4/17/08)

Ayers' Organization, The Weather Underground, Was A "Violent Left-Wing Activist Group":

"William Ayers ... [Was] A Founding Member Of The Group That Bombed The U.S. Capitol And The Pentagon During The 1970s." (Russell Berman, "Obama's Ties To Left Come Under Scrutiny," The New York Sun, 2/19/08)

* Ayers' Group, The Weather Underground, Is A "Violent Left-Wing Activist Group." "Senator Obama's ties to a former leader of the violent left-wing activist group the Weather Underground are drawing new scrutiny as he battles Senator Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination." (Russell Berman, "Obama's Ties To Left Come Under Scrutiny," The New York Sun, 2/19/08)

Ironically, another Chicagoan who serves as President Obama's Advisor, Rahm Emmanuel, is the son of a munitions supplier and supporter of the Irgun, one of the Terrorist gangs of the 1930s-40s fighting for what became the State of Israel. Along with the Stern Gang, these Terrorists were first to use car bombs in the Middle East, with high numbers of civilian casualties and terrifying effectiveness.
(See Mike Davis' superb, passionate and deadly acerbic & gallows humor account: Buda's Wagon: The History of the Car Bomb

In the UK the fear of bombings on British soil and done by Britons and "foreigners" alike is a very vivid one and real one, and not as expunged as in the US, where anything pre9/11 except the World Trade Center bombing is ignored--to emphasize s much as possible the focus on these events for reasons of "security" used to steadily eat away at Civil and Human Rights within and outside the US that are carried out by the US--

(in 1979 when the one cab we rode in in London began to take a suspiciously round about way--the driver said it was due to the call in of a bomb--one could see various streets on that night cordoned off--and unruffled Bobbies talking with passersby--)

the history of bombings in England is very long--Guy Fawkes Day for example point to one form of it--and novels like Henry James' The Princess Cassamassima and Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent emerged from the massive bombing campaign in London esp. but in many areas of England in the 1880's and later on--a literary /bombing "connection/tradition" "carried on" literally by Brendan Behan, arrested and shipped to Borstal for attempting to enter the UK with an "Infernal Machine" as a teenager--

with the 24/7 surveillance and it seems every few months another series of Draconian Laws being imposed in the UK on all citizens, is it any wonder that anyone might not have fear not of poetry but simply of being asked what may be a "trick question" --seemingly about something as innocuous as poetry, while actually to-do with something far more insidious--

after all, a person polled might say that she or he loved the poetry of Rumi and had been known on many n occasion to fairly explode from the spontaneous combustion of this poetry which began to suddenly flow ecstatically forth from one's mouth while reading or reciting its line; the poetry uplifting being itself, so that that the Deleuzian "line of flight" of being is rising to new heights, like a Dove of Freedom flying above the Walls of Guantanamo, Bagram, Gaza, Baghdad----

You see? Red alert!! Red Alert!! and the lover of the works of Rumi is hauled off and after preliminary questioning renditioned to the US for assignment to one or another of the secret prisons polluting this earth at a rate faster than the vanishing that of potable water for these last many years--

(the exaggerations of mine are to remind the reader that these are possibilities, not, one hopes, facts; and so should be treated as, that is to say they are the imaginings which the facts may produce--not only as fiction--but also as a cause for alarm on the part of the individual, the person polled, because in the climate of today in the UK and US--and Canada--to like and recite Rumi may be a method for transmitting "terrorist" messages and "for security reasons" necessitate a "better Safe than sorry" policy of immediate "detention." A factual example prompting the imaginary as yet one is that the Poems from Guantanamo to this day are feared by some in the Military establishment to have contained hidden messages, despite all efforts to the contrary in controlling their translations and which were chosen.For almost everything noted here, there is actual factual proof; the times i include fiction is to indicate that an essay on poetry in a poetic mode may be created using both fact and imagination--NOT separating Dr Williams ""only the imagination is real"
in Spring and All from "no ideas but in things, Mr" written roughly 20 years later and appearing in Paterson.)

"Fear of poetry" is not because of "poetry" perhaps n the cases of those polled, but the fear of being asked MORE questions, interrogated--frightened of what one might say in the "being forced to speak" of torture--

"Fear of poetry " then is this fear not of Poetry, but of the persons who, and the ways in which, Poetry may be manipulated with "Other Ends in Mind."

One's own poetry for example might be used against one, as an example of not producing the "correct" form of poetry or Poetics, which in turn leads to the questioning of the correctness of one's thoughts, commitments, beliefs, until such a point is reached that indeed even the person polled begins to know that they are guilty of "poem crimes" and "thought crimes," making their treatment at "Correctional Facilities" being completely necessary to save both themselves and the Security of Society, AKA the Society of Security, from the Evil that they bear and which is trying to destroy the Homeland, the Poetry of the State and State Institutions and so forth--.

"Algerian Six" alledged "terrorists"--

It may not be Poetry at all which is "feared," in this poll, but perhaps very much the Fear of Not Conforming, of Not Saying the Right Thing, the Fear of being different, an outsider, and so one is unsafe AS oneself, unsafe even TO oneself--

in many other cultures around the world, this does not exist, this "fear of poetry"--
instead, often, poetry may be striking fear into the government, into traditional forms of conformity, or cause fear simply by being "outspoken" regarding things one is not supposed to say or think, or, knowing most people think these forbidden, "subversive" things, one is not allowed to express them, for the fear on the "leaders'" parts that once the door is opened a crack, the rush of those pouring forth with a long bottled up energy will be enough to blast the leaders and government and all the institutions enforcing dutifully their edicts, from the military to the universities, as well as not a few complicit poets and artists--to blast these all away as they collapse under a "popular uprising " from "Below"--

To be sure, (as often is the case) poetry need not be even overtly protesting "things as they are" but doing so simply by remaining a living call through time of the yearnings of people for "something more than this"--
be it spiritual or erotic, complete liberty or the reiteration of the beauty of the world, of life, that is often lost sight of--

Lost sight of, really, in order to crush down any desire for anything "more"--to be cynically or intellectually etc opposed to the concept that persons may want much more than they are given--and that what persons may want is what you don't want them to have, in which case the "leaders" and their poets , KNOW, have DECIDED, what is "good for you"--and that is that--

Poetry of Fear: is "History" Faked? Did it "happen on a set in a studio" and Not on Mars, the Moon--were the WMDs "There" except in painted artists' conceptions of them??? Are there actually any Proofs real or faked of what exists or not in Iran?

So, to ask for more is NOT ALLOWED--ie. no more imagination! no more questions! no more laughter! no more doubts! no more thinking that things as presented & represented to one as the way they are is a lie! yes, for the benefit of the big shots and their accompanying bards --
(for al Kings, Empresses, have had their Bards, and today it is even claimed that a Bard is President--what a savings eh! two for the price of one!--what genius on the part of somebody or other--)

in which case, to join with "Poetry in Fear, " there may well exist also THE POETRY OF FEAR" and its sidekick "THE POETRY FOR FEAR""--

Poetry in Fear are those polled who fear to give any answers regarding Poetry which are outside the realm of Conformity--
It is not Poetry that is feared, but what might be behind the asking of what may be a "trick question, "leading to one's detention for non-conformist thoughts and ways of life of being itself, one's being, being "out side the box" so much that the only box fit for one is the one they stick you in to be lowered into the ground--if you are lucky, eh--

The Poetry of Fear is that "Poetry which the President speaks" when announcing not only the continuance of a great many of the worst and most Fearful & Feared programs of the previous administration, but a Poetry of Fear which demands that the society join him in going even further than any President has gone before.

And where might this be, this new direction ever further --it is into the realm of detaining one indefinitely without being charged, meaning no recourse to a defense or lawyers of any kind--and all because the President can decide anytime he or she feels like to say that so and so is going to COMMIT A HEINOUS CRIME IN THE FUTURE, and to prevent this,needs to be detained and renditioned immediately.

It is one thing to detain person for crimes that HAVE BEEN COMMITTED--because then there is evidence and both a prosecution and defense may present their arguments pro and con before a Judge. In other words, what American Law is supposed to be.

However, no on one in history has ever demanded the Right TO DETAIN PERSONS FOR CRIMES THEY HAVE NOT YET COMMITTED..


To make matters worse, the President is also demanding that the Supreme Court overturn its ruling that a person arrested can not be questioned until provided with a lawyer, either their own or one court appointed.

This means that the police, on their own, and in their own ways, may be questioning the person well before any defense or advice is provided, and thus given the FULL FEAR FACTOR that will elicit a confession in no time, and all the "valuable information" needed to avert yet more"CRIMES NOT YET COMMITTED.

This is the Poetry of Fear--on its way to being "the Law of the Land,"as decided by a President whom many Poets have seen as indeed being "One of Them."

"The Law of the Land"--the President is about to name a new Supreme Court justice--

Once upon a time this Poet President sat and talked with Edward Said. Dr Said knew a thing or two about bombings, arsons anonymous and public threats on his life--after all his office at Columbia was incinerated--and he lived the rest of his life with an emergency button wired into his desk.

The Obamas and Saids, 1998

Dr Said of course was a deluded being, way outside the box, yes?--

(The Poetics list even at one point was carrying truly vicious violent virulent and graphically obscene hate speech directed at the then just deceased scholar of a great many things including Poetry. There were members who protested at the time, also, that this kinds of attacks, hate speech, was being allowed to be on the list, not just Re Edward Said, but any and everyone. It was also asked if the diatribes were permitted because Edward Said was Palestinian--what if he had been of a different ethic background? Would similar attacks have been allowed?)

That is why a very UnAmerican Law was instituted to protect Americans from such beings as Edward Said ever again having a chance to be so "influential:

'Another group, chaired by Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice president Richard Cheney, and Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman , has decried liberal and leftist academics as the 'weak link' in the war on terror . These public relations campaigns are designed not simply to arouse public awareness, but also to influence government action. And they have. After taking hours of testimony from conservative intellectuals decrying the pernicious influence of the late Columbia University scholar Edward Said on Middle Eastern Studies, the House of Representatives UNANIMOUSLY (my emphasis) adopted in the Fall of 2003 a bill requiring academic programs receiving federal funding to tailor their their scholar ship and curriculum to 'better reflect the national needs related to homeland security.' Under that rubric, according to a report in Salon, the government could use the carrot and stick of federal money to make sure that ' international studies departments . . . show more support for American foreign policy."

(Corey Robin: Fear: The History of a Political Idea; Oxford UP, 2004; 188)

Here, as with the Military and Government "chain of command" for translators working in a rigorously legal, controlled and constrained manner and environment on the very few non censored "Poems from Guantanamo is what one may call the "Fear of Poetry, "

Corey Robin in Fear : the History of a Political Idea just cited also notes another tactic
directed against,a whole laundry list of threats internal and external published
as full page NY Times ad taken out by AVOT (Americans for Victory Over Terrorism: among them William J Bennett, (Drug Czar & Education Guru &--compulsive gambler) James Woolsey & Frank Gaffeny of the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations), which calls for "ho.ding 'scholarly research' about Islam to "a serious and rigorous standard.'" (op cit; 188)

Since a lot of the study of Islam involves the poetry of the Qu'aran both within and without its text in the poetries inspired by it, one may again note a "Fear of Poetry" ("a threat internal and external") on the part of the American authorities.

On the one hand the "Fear of Poetry" and the "Poetry of and for Fear." and on the other, that evinced by the poll of British persons, as well as by the inaction's of, as has been the so often remarked on"internally and externally" the "fear within American poetry & arts" of being "out of line," not toeing the Company line, remaining complicitly silent re the actions internal and external of the current and previous Administrations, over a long period of time.

The American persons then who may well have a Fear of Poetry, may be those poets who do not conform to the "rigorous standards" of Institutions from the Office of President on down to the branches of learning as well as the monitoring of emails, telephone calls, letters received or books taken out of the library.

That is the Fear within Poetry--to conform or else--be publicly and privately attacked. not only by the usual suspects from the Federales or State or University Administration and media Representatives, but from fellow poets also.

Re "the end of lists" --
a double edged sword of social networks and their theories is the possibility of always being among those who agree with one--"like-minded individuals"--in which case their is no criticism, feedback, discussion, that may or not be of help to the individual presenter, yet may contribute some new information or suggest other possibilities to other members of the network
and where "the skies are not cloudy all day"

on the one hand, every poet, artist needs encouragement and support, attention and care; on the other hand this may devolve into a nonstop parade of flatterers and sycophants--

one of the dangers of any list, blog, facebook, my space etc etc is that there is always a strong pressure to conform--

this pressure often need not be "voiced" or written, expressed in any overt way, yet exist as an undercurrent which flows among the members--

fear is the political arm used to enforce and control the directions of conformity--

ratchet up the fear and persons not previously fearful suddenly are-the fear no longer need come from without solely, it is also being generated within, through the adoption of rebranded language, which quietly omits any conflicts between directives and actualities--

in other words there is eventually a a good possibility for the parroting of propaganda only being allowed--

lists are not at all over, as Jim claims; it just dependents on what lists one is participating in--there are many that are very alive and well and also more inclusive than the old poetics list was--these lists and other social networks one may form without mingling always among the like minded, are international, and so not governed by the tendency to conformity which observers of the American scene since de Tocqueville have seen and remarked on--

the "fear of poetry" then may not be an indication of a "given" but the symptom of FEAR which is continually made more frightening by the controlling forces within that society--

On Sat, May 23, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Jim Andrews <> wrote:
i think lists have had their day as high quality discussion forums. some options have emerged since then, such as blogs and social networks. well lists are social networks, aren't they. but they weren't called that when they were in their prime. now the term 'social networks' encompasses lists, things like facebook, myspace, rss of blogs, and so on. there's more options and more theory of social networks. unfortunately, for all that, i haven't seen anything that rivals the early days of the list in terms of strong discussion. i think it would take quite a strong platform/app to do that. something that was strong enough to merit the trust that the list no longer enjoys. if that's possible.

The Poetics List is moderated & does not accept all posts. Check guidelines & sub/unsub info:

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