marxist poetry

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lem_
marxist poetry
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hi,

so i have a little interest in poetry at the moment. can't struggle all time haha. i'm not so interested in marxist literary theory, but wondered if any poetry has been written by marxists, anything about the class struggle, that kind of thing. 

i guess that there's just not enough marxists around to ask about current journals ha.

thanks for nay replies, and if this post is completely superfulous, just delete it please.

jk1921
Herman Gorter was a famous

Herman Gorter was a famous Dutch poet. His poetry is well-known in the Netherlands and Flanders even outside Marxist circles. He wrote a poem about workers councils, De Arbeidersraad. I am not sure there are any English translations of it anywhere though.....

baboon
on this website

lem_,

See the articles on this website by typing in "marxist poetry". See Heinrich Heine and Sean O'Casey in particular.

Pierre
Where is Leo?

Our friend Leo on these boards has some very good poetry. He would probably have a good answer to your inquiry

Fred
I don't think poetry needs to

I don't think poetry needs to be explicitly Marxist or political to take a Marxist view of the world, because the best poets have imaginations. When Wordsworth refers to "the still sad music of humanity" he is criticizing the effects of all the exploitative societies which make human life a misery. Similarly his reference to education as "Shades of the prison house begin to close upon the growing boy." Isnt this a Marxist critique prior to Marx's own writings?

Most of Shakespeare's Tragedies are savage exposures of corruption, greed, desire for power, the destructive qualities of ambition - all things the bourgeoisie still love so much. Where would they be without them?

And then there's the power of Love, Beauty and Truth, as expressed and dramatically presented in Keats' verses. These qualities can be imagined in Capitalist society but are really visions of the future, quite unattainable in proper form in this hell-hole of a world. They are communist imaginings, made but unamed as such by a genius who sees better possibilities as yet unrealized.

And this from the early 16th.century.

Quote:
'Westron wynde, when wilt thou blow,
The small raine down can raine.
Cryst, if my love were in my armes
And I in my bedde again!'

Such straight talking here. I would guess the writer is in someone else's employ, engaged reluctantly. Is this not the universal proletarian voice we hear, the secular oath, the desire for love, the longing for a warm bed and good sex? Such honesty!

LoneLondoner
Is there proletarian culture?

When you asked about marxist poetry my first thought was Vladimir Mayakovsky, who was a poet at the time of the Russian Revolution, who organised an "agitprop" train to propagandise collectivisation and better farming methods just after the revolution, and who wrote a magnificant poem in praise of the revolution, in which he imagines all the countries of the world contributing what they have best to the new humanity (America its mechanical ability, France its food and wine and joie de vivre and so on).

Sadly I can't find that anywhere on the net, they seem to have stuck to his more individualist stuff, and on marxists.org you can find a "conversation with comrade Lenin" which veers towards socialist realism. I don't know whether it is significant, but Lenin apparently thought his work was rubbish (Lenin wasn't always right) and Stalin turned him into an icon with a ghastly "workers' hero" type statue in Moscow.

Art is not the same as politics, and expressed truth about humanity and its condition in a different way. I think it would be a big mistake to look for a "proletarian" art or a "proletarian" culture. In fact such a thing is inherently impossible: under capitalism the proletariat remains under the cultural domination of the ruling class ("the ruling ideas in a society are those of the ruling class..."), and when the proletariat comes to power (if it ever does), then its entire purpose is bent towards abolishing itself, of creating the conditions for a fully human culture to be created, free from class society.

It's not poetry but you might be interested to read an article on the debate on proletarian culture during and after the Russian revolution.

red flag
Agree with Lone Londoner

Agree with Lone Londoner regarding whether there can be proletarian culture developing within capitalism.  I think that a lot of people gets mixed up between propaganda/agitation and art.  While agitprop can inspire and help to faciliatate the struggle against capitalism it can't be the basis for a communist culture which can only come when the proletariat comes to power globally.

jk1921
Well, I think there was

Well, I think there was something like a "socialist culture" in the period of ascendancy built around the culutral institutions of the SPD, the unions, etc. I am not sure if this was a "proletarian culture" in the sense of emanating from a class, or more of a "party culture."

In decadence, however, this is gone--replaced by the rift between high and low (or mass) culture, with culture itself tending towards spectacle, etc.

LoneLondoner
Socialist culture?

jk1921 wrote:

Well, I think there was something like a "socialist culture" in the period of ascendancy built around the culutral institutions of the SPD, the unions, etc. I am not sure if this was a "proletarian culture" in the sense of emanating from a class, or more of a "party culture."

I'm not an expert on this but I think probably one needs to distinguish here between a "culture" in the sense of "a way of living" so to speak, and "culture" in the sense of art, specifically. And I doubt that the cultural creation of the SPD etc cultural institutions was "proletarian" in the sense of being specific to that class. In fact, one of the biggest efforts that the workers must make is to appropriate the best of bourgeois cultural production, and indeed that of all previous societies.

jk1921
Public Sphere

LoneLondoner wrote:

jk1921 wrote:

Well, I think there was something like a "socialist culture" in the period of ascendancy built around the culutral institutions of the SPD, the unions, etc. I am not sure if this was a "proletarian culture" in the sense of emanating from a class, or more of a "party culture."

I'm not an expert on this but I think probably one needs to distinguish here between a "culture" in the sense of "a way of living" so to speak, and "culture" in the sense of art, specifically. And I doubt that the cultural creation of the SPD etc cultural institutions was "proletarian" in the sense of being specific to that class. In fact, one of the biggest efforts that the workers must make is to appropriate the best of bourgeois cultural production, and indeed that of all previous societies.

Yes, it depends on what one means by culture. I suppose I was using it more in the sense of there being a kind of alternative "public sphere" during ascendancy which engendered a socialist culture, an undertstanding of working class identity, etc centered around the institutions of Social Democracy, something that is all but gone today. Its not clear whether we are better or worse off for it....

Leo
"Where is Leo? Our friend Leo

"Where is Leo?

Our friend Leo on these boards has some very good poetry. He would probably have a good answer to your inquiry"

I'm still around, I've just been awfully busy. Hope you're doing alright PP.

 

lem_
thank you for the excellent

thank you for the excellent [as usual] replies.

 

:) !

Fred
I agree with Kevin: poetry is

I agree with Kevin: poetry is something we all need. Perhaps when we have communism we will realize that poetry doesn't have to be seen as "art" but as humanity expressing itself as best it can, in the best chosen words. So "MY LOVE IS LIKE A RED RED ROSE..." is not maybe the most profound statement ever made, and could be seen as prose in any case, but it has a beautiful almost unforgettable impact. Capitalism is a limitation on what we call poetry, because it is a limitation on the whole of human life, and must be exerting a crushing effect on human capacity for all kinds of thought, especially original creative thought. The same is probably true of music: specially since the onset of decomposition.

radicalchains
I agree with Fred, just the

I agree with Fred, just the other day I called someone's description of a future communist society poetry. He thinks that I think he's a bourgeois but I said the bourgeoisie don't write poetry like that. In fact the bourgeoisie wouldn't even deem it poetry. 

Perhaps when something becomes art it becomes also a commodity, but until that time whatever the thing is, it is a creation, an expression, a love, or something else but not art. Something which has not entered a market or was not produced with exchange in mind. 

Just say NO to art.

Fred
Interesting post dotcommie so

Interesting post dotcommie so thanks for that.

 

William Blake wrote a short and beautiful verse about a sick rose. People wonder about its imagery. Given that Blake was a revolutionary person in outlook, maybe this poem is about  a sick society, the rose,  plundered by capitalism ("the invisible worm" in the poem). The "crimson joy" of fully realized human society is destroyed by the worm. 

W. Blake wrote:
 

O Rose thou art sick. The invisible worm, That flies in the night In the howling storm:  Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy: And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy.

    Benjamin Britten made a lovely setting of this. He certainly made this verse sing. 
lem_
hiphop is...

hiphop is... anti-poetry?

 

http://postflarf.blogspot.co.uk/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flarf

 

what do you think?

lem_
hey so, does anyone think

hey so, does anyone think that something like the waste land is an authentic art ??

lem_
hey so what if the role given

hey so what if the role given to art by the critical theorists was actually that of the communist party

ha