This essay theorizes Lyn Hejinian's twenty-first century writing, focusing on The Beginner (2002), The Fatalist (2003), Saga/Circus (2008), and The Book of a Thousand Eyes (2012). In these works, and in recently archived notebooks, Hejinian has been developing a distinctive new idiom, a poetry of the "space of appearance" that is in sustained dialogue with Hannah Arendt. Hejinian has explored Arendt's political aesthetics in order to develop a poetics of appearance that can respond substantively to the emergent regime of accumulation Shoshana Zuboff has described as "surveillance capitalism." Because this new dispensation reconfigures the meanings and valences of public space, both by monetizing appearances and by rendering appearance all but inevitable, Hejinian has been concerned to defend everyday life, privacy, and even phenomenal appearance itself—despite the fact that mounting this challenge has entailed a pressing commitment to the capacity of language to represent reality. By showing how Hejinian has made this "turn to reality" (to use her phrase) this essay develops an interpretation of Hejinian's twenty-first century writing that emphasizes the urgency of its contribution to recent debates about critique, the public sphere, democracy, and surveillance. Copyright © 2019 Johns Hopkins University Press and West Chester University.
|Publication status||Published - 2019|