Poetry, Activism and Cultural Capital


Drawing upon the examples of the Mexican poet Javier Sicilia and South African poet Dennis Brutus, this essay investigates the relationship between poetry and activism, the poet as public intellectual, and the role of cultural capital as embodied in the poet as much as in his or her poetry. Of course, given the very limited sample, the argument can only take a small step, and I cannot extrapolate from the cases of Sicilia and Brutus to 'the world', but the impetus to put the case emerges from a sense that over the period of the last half century when 'literature' has become accessible to so many, the value of that literature, and of poetry in particular, seems to be waning whilst the cultural capital of 'the poet' remains potent.

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Published 1 November 2013 in Volume 28 No. 4. Subjects: Activists, Poetry.

Cite as: Collett, Anne. ‘Poetry, Activism and Cultural Capital.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 28, no. 4, 2013, doi: 10.20314/als.5c2ff1dc70.