ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

The Political Limits of Poetry on Twitter


Kramer Max - Freie Univerisität Berlin, Anthropology, Berlin, Germany


26 – Radical Poetics in the Literary Cultures of South Asia


 It is of little surprise that Urdu poetry is used as an online political expression of Indian Muslims considering the importance of the genre in South Asian publics and the history of Urdu progressive poetry down to the present. In this presentation, I address the political limits of online poetry for Indian Muslims by focusing on the practice of the poet Aamir Aziz who runs a big handle on Twitter. By ‘limits of online poetry’ I mean that poetry understood as an ethical-political practice, must remain within certain limits in order to sustain its radical force. The moment these limits are crossed the form will be appropriated and emptied of its potential to affect those who haven’t already tidily sorted their ideological space. I will discuss the poetry of Aamir Aziz with a particular look at the contextual and the rhythmic in Twitter poetry. My question is: which form of poetry, during which events, using which words in which rhythm, has a high likelihood of not being captured and coopted by Hindu nationalists’ digital circulations?