Title

Revolutionary Hangovers and the Poetics of Democracy: Post Conflict Meta-Poetry by Central American Women Writers (1990-Present)

Subject Area

Hispanic Women Writers

Abstract

During the 1960s and 1970s, the poetry by Central American women such as Gioconda Belli, Daisy Zamora, and Claribel Alegría were at the forefront of revolutionary discourse as they sought to democratize poetic content by creating a dialogue about what political goals could be addressed within the lyric form. With the dissolution of many of the social and revolutionary movements in the region in the late 1980s and early 1990s, critics have noted not only a shift in genre preference (from poetry to narrative), but also what Arturo Arias notes as a literary disillusion with revolutionary utopias that has “given way to a heavy hangover” (22). Beatriz Cortez corroborates that sentiment in her study of post-conflict narrative fiction adding that an “aesthetic of cynicism” now contrasts the once hopeful and utopian aesthetic tied to revolutionary cultural productions.

This paper presents an alternative view of that post-conflict disillusion by analyzing the meta-poetry of Ana Maria Rodas (Guatemala), Gioconda Belli (Nicaragua), Carmen Naranjo (Costa Rica) and Marina Moncada (Nicaragua) published in the aftermath of the Central American peace accords. Their work reveals the struggle of the lyric subject left to contend with the role of the poet in political and social transformations. I turn to Jacques Ranciere’s theories on aesthetics and democracy in order to demonstrate an unfinished political project intimately tied to the creative process, or what I refer to as their “poetics of democracy,” and which prompts, by my view, a defense of poetry as a political site of resistance.

Brief Bio Note

Dr. Denise Callejas received her M.A. in Spanish from Florida State University and her PhD from Vanderbilt University. She specializes in contemporary Latin American poetry and Central American women writers. Her current research focuses on the relationship between aesthetics, revolution and democracy in the poetry of Carmen Naranjo (1928-2012).

Keywords

Aesthetics, Democracy, Revolutionary Poetry, Central America, Women Writers

Location

Room 212

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-24-2017 2:35 PM

Embargo

11-4-2016

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Mar 24th, 2:35 PM

Revolutionary Hangovers and the Poetics of Democracy: Post Conflict Meta-Poetry by Central American Women Writers (1990-Present)

Room 212

During the 1960s and 1970s, the poetry by Central American women such as Gioconda Belli, Daisy Zamora, and Claribel Alegría were at the forefront of revolutionary discourse as they sought to democratize poetic content by creating a dialogue about what political goals could be addressed within the lyric form. With the dissolution of many of the social and revolutionary movements in the region in the late 1980s and early 1990s, critics have noted not only a shift in genre preference (from poetry to narrative), but also what Arturo Arias notes as a literary disillusion with revolutionary utopias that has “given way to a heavy hangover” (22). Beatriz Cortez corroborates that sentiment in her study of post-conflict narrative fiction adding that an “aesthetic of cynicism” now contrasts the once hopeful and utopian aesthetic tied to revolutionary cultural productions.

This paper presents an alternative view of that post-conflict disillusion by analyzing the meta-poetry of Ana Maria Rodas (Guatemala), Gioconda Belli (Nicaragua), Carmen Naranjo (Costa Rica) and Marina Moncada (Nicaragua) published in the aftermath of the Central American peace accords. Their work reveals the struggle of the lyric subject left to contend with the role of the poet in political and social transformations. I turn to Jacques Ranciere’s theories on aesthetics and democracy in order to demonstrate an unfinished political project intimately tied to the creative process, or what I refer to as their “poetics of democracy,” and which prompts, by my view, a defense of poetry as a political site of resistance.