Poetry News

The Dystopic Prophecy of Poetry & Other Notes on Franco Berardi at Entropy

By Harriet Staff


Brett Zehner sketches some solid notes for Entropy about Franco "Bifo" Berardi's Semiotext(e) Interventions series book, The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance, which those of you interested in the intersections between capital formation and poetics have probably already read or read about. From the intro:

His latest book The Uprising is “a manifesto for today’s precarious times, a rallying cry in the face of the catastrophic and irreversible crisis that neoliberalism and the financial sphere have established over the globe.” He outlines the embedded dogma of financial capitalism through all sectors of society while lamenting the failure of “old modes of resistance”. Debt and growth are central to the current crises yet both are linguistic constructs, speech acts repeated to repair and reproduce free floating abstract market demands. As Berardi maps the current crises what becomes clear is that it is a crises of the social imagination demanding a new language by which to address these concerns.

The book is remarkable in the way it pits poetry as a revolutionary weapon against financial capitalism. This is perhaps not such a new concept. Yet the depth to which he explores poetry as the unexpected insolvency where desire cannot be easily reduced or exchanged as currency is remarkable. Poetics here becomes a relation between bodies of all kinds, a geography, a diagram to be remade constantly, a mode of communication, dissensus, infection. Here there is such hope with the cruelty of experimentation….And on my part such anxious second guessing! What if avant garde poetics movements just pave new ways of appropriation, capture, and a kinder softer form of social control? Or even worse, such as the case of the Italian Futurists.

Then the notes begin. Here's one:


“symbolism to futurism- beat generation and fluxus- poets have anticipated and predicted the trajectory of the global economy and of the ordinary business of life”

“devastating spiral of abstraction and nihilism
abstraction of work from activity
abstraction of goods from usefulness
abstraction of time from sensuousness
abstraction detached the epidermis of language from the flesh of the linguistic body”

reactivate the social body

precarious generation- accept exploitation and low wages depleted of necessary resources for their education promised a future of the endless repetition of a meaningless act of sacrifice on the altar of debt

first connected generation. internet natives.

portraits of the precariat

Read 'em all at Entropy.

Originally Published: July 15th, 2014