Theotry is the combination of theory and poetry. It is where I take quotes from my favorite theorists and then write poetry based on those quotes. I was once told that theory is like an arrow that a theorist has shot out; from there someone else picks up that arrow and shoots it off in another direction. I hope to do the same with this project as I want to take these theories into a multiplicity of directions. I consider myself a political theorist, I also consider myself a poet, this is my attempt to combine two things I love.
While poetry is often political, political theory is rarely poetic (Audre Lorde, Deleuze and Guattarri, Gloria Anzaldua, Tiqqun, and the Invisible Committee, excluded. I know there are many more who are poetic but those are the one's that come to mind at the moment). For me, poetry and political theory are two of the most important parts of my life. Poetry saved me from the darkness I faced after coming home from war, political theory helped me to understand that darkness.
Some of the folks I use quotes from are not traditionally called political theorists, however they have had an impact on my way of thinking about politics and about war. The poems do not necessarily represent the theory or the theorist, though sometimes they do. The quotes I use for inspiration range from their literary work to things they have said. Sometimes the poem describes my relationship to the quote, as many of these quotes can be just as personal as the poem. And many of the quotes relate to war, as that is my theoretical focus and is tied to my background as a war veteran and a peace activist, turned academic.
Does this water down arguments? Perhaps. Does it spark new forms of thought? Hopefully. So in the end, I hope these poems inspire you to engage more deeply with these political theorists; I hope it inspires you to write more poetry, and; I hope you find the links between theory and the everyday! This is my testimony, this is my praxis. Marcuse says, “Art doesn’t change the world, but it may change the consciousness of those who can change it,” and that is what I hope to do, work to shift our class consciousness.
"The revolution in poetic form testifies, in other words, to political and cultural changes whose historical manifestation, and its revolutionary aspect, is now noticed accidentally--accidentally breaks into awareness--through and accident of verse. The poetic revolution is thus both a replica and a sequence, an effect of, the French Revolution. What free verse by accident picks up on, therefore, is not merely former poetry which it now modifies, but the formerly unseen, ill-understood relationship which the accident reveals between culture and language, between poetry and politics." (from Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub's book Testimony: Crisis of witnissing in literature, psychoanalysis, and history. P. 20)