Manash Bhattacharjee: How poetry & art express political commitment

Today’s post comes to you via Guernica magazine and Indian poet, writer & scholar Manash Bhattacharjee.  In his short essay, Bhattacharjee explains why Sartre was wrong to claim that only prose can properly address and provoke political improvement. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“Poetry and art contribute to political sensibility by not merely appealing to the senses, but also by drawing irrational links between their mediums and politics. Symbols and images don’t lack correspondence with politics just because they aren’t framed within a rational and logical language. Political action is not purely a logical movement of forces towards making an event. The language of art and poetry are also translatable into politics: the placards by students at Tiananmen Square carried lines from Bei Dao’s poem, ‘The Answer’. The poem, in a defiant tone against official lies, proclaims: “…Let me tell you, world, / I—do—not—believe! / If a thousand challengers lie beneath your feet, / Count me as number thousand and one…”

The entire essay can be found at Guernica magazine’s website.

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