Poetry News

Ominverse Presents First of Three Essays on the 'Poetics of Drought'

By Harriet Staff


Last year's AWP in Los Angeles was host to Kristin George Bagdanov's panel, "Poetics of Drought," the purpose of which was "to imagine how poetry might help us engage conceptually and materially with the crisis of drought." Now up at Omniverse is the first installment in a three-part essay series on poetics and drought, based on the panel, and coordinated with Rusty Morrison. "Is drought a totality that draws together and dries up the disparate things we once thought separate?"

More from "uses of drought," by Morrison:

We can ‘practice’ the ‘feeling’ of seeking a way to open to unexpected insight! to let the drought attune us to the ways to seek and use the scant glimpses of moisture that might otherwise be entirely ignored.

Most important is that the ability to find new pathways will be more available to us if we are looking for them, for this possibility, and thus leaving ourselves more open to its occurrence. this is why the consciousness of drought is such a fine teacher.

Reading poems by others that seem to me to have made this kind of leap inspire such synaptic connections in my own consciousness. I sense that the deep complicated act of writing has taken the poet over and revised the poet’s consciousness in the act of its being written. Such poems are not just rubrics for writing but rubrics for survival, for using the droughts we live in as a means of sustaining alternatives to the crises we feel constrain us.

In his essay “What is the Contemporary?” Giorgio Agamben explains that “the entry point to the present necessarily takes the form of an archeology; an archeology that does not, however, regress to the historical past, but returns to that part within the present that we are absolutely incapable of living.”

To me, that part within the present, which we are absolutely incapable of living, is the space of drought yet with the consciousness that it gives us, we can unearth more and more of what has seemed to us impossible.

Find the rest of this piece at Omniverse.