Against the busy background of the “information age” and the “anthropocene,” where’s poetry? It might seem invisible, irrelevant, but Demonstrategy proves it as salient as ever, and more urgent. In paired essays about poetry in the world and the world in poetry, Demonstrategy finds poetry’s pulse steady and strong.
Acknowledgments 9 Preamble 13 Article 1: Make another world, make this world otherwise. 1.1 : Poetry Against Growth 15 1.2 : Poetry Against Poems 26 Article 2: Double stance, double vision. 2.1 : Poetry For Relationship 38 2.2 : Poetry For Justice 48 Article 3: Think making, make thinking. 3.1 : Poetry Against Philosophy 57 3.2 : Poetry Against Fragmentation 64 Article 4: See what is at stake, change what is at stake. 4.1 : Poetry For Reparation 71 4.2 : Poetry For Preparation 78 Article 5: Everything that descends must diverge. 5.1 : Poetry Against Patriarchy 86 5.2 : Poetry Against Tyranny 97 Article 6: Ask me once, stranger you; ask me twice, stranger me. 6.1 : Poetry For Xenophilia 108 6.2 : Poetry For Change 112 Article 7: No secrets means no exceptions. 7.1 : Poetry Against Expectations 116 7.2 : Poetry Against Exceptionalism 126 Article 8: Tell me someone I don’t already know. 8.1 : Poetry For Discovery 136 8.2 : Poetry For Self-Knowledge 140 Article 9: One word changes, one word changes everything. 9.1 : Poetry Against Correspondence 145 9.2 : Poetry Against Fungibility 156 Article 10: Not yet as it should be, no longer as it was. 10.1 : Poetry For Dissent 163 10.2 : Poetry For Hybridity 168 Amendments 179 Works Cited 181
“Poetry is not dying for want of an audience,” H. L. Hix boldly opens his meditation on the why and wherefore of poetry, Demonstrategy, but rather, “humanity is dying for want of poetry.” His argument for the necessity of poetry, its “ethopoesis,” as Hix theorizes, is a capacious inquiry into what comprises a poetry adequate to our cultural need. Chapters focus forcefully on matters both urgent and cerebral (poetry against patriarchy and tyranny, poetry for reparation and dissent). Drawing on a wealth of ancient and modern thinkers about language and poetry (ranging from Herakleitos to the astonishing Jan Zwicky) to investigate various aspects of the field, Hix builds a brilliant case for poetry’s cause. Like T. S. Eliot’s Tradition, which alters with the publication of the new (the really new) work of artistic genius, the set of great philosophical defenses of poetry must now move over and make room for H. L. Hix’s scorching-smart Demonstrategy.
––Cynthia Hogue, author of In June the Labyrinth
In an urgent use of a broad erudition, Hix brings us to a precisely contemporary interrogation of the value and place of poetry in critical writing that teases a non-dualistic embrace of the necessity of poetry. Opening questions such as the much used term “craft,” we are invited to consider whether progress is real or imaginary, whether the truer state of poetry is that of an eternal existence, one that is embodied in the mind as the mind evidences itself in language. This is a timely work, one that should force poets to take the not so occasional and unnecessary walk to the woodshed, and therein to dwell on these matters of why this art persists, or why it should persist and how reality is defined or defied by poetry’s ever deepening intersections inside the interstices of thought.
—Afaa M. Weaver, Spirit Boxing
- TS Eliot Prize
- National Book Award