As artistic profile, Dread Poetry and Freedom is successful. In fact, it also succeeds in constructing a worthwhile rubric through which political art can be viewed. Though this may be accidental, it also unveils a broader problem, albeit one well beyond the scope of the book. That is, if poetry can play a role in “informing our understanding of political possibilities,” can it play a role in widening those possibilities?
Alexander Billet is an artist, writer, and cultural critic based in Los Angeles. His work encompasses topics concerning artistic expression, radical geography, and historical memory. He is a member of the Locust Arts & Letters Collective and an editor at its publication Locust Review. He also regularly contributes articles on music to Jacobin, and has appeared in Chicago Review, In These Times, and other outlets. His blog is To Whom It May Concern…
Posts by Alexander Billet
The story of Delyte Morris and the Southern Illinois University he created is what Robert A. Harper calls “a story of unlikely success and a tragic end.” It does read like an American tragedy, somehow, based in a rustic start, ambition, ingenuity, and the fallibility of good intentions.