© Philippe Matsas / Opale / Flammarion
© Philippe Matsas / Opale / Flammarion

Philippe Beck is a French poet, writer and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nantes in France and at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. His book Contre un Boileau, un art poétique, came out in February 2015 (Fayard, collection Ouvertures).



Poetry as the Science Fiction of Today

The discrepancy between poetry and science fiction is no longer available. Our predicament has changed: poetry no longer describes a golden age located in a separate past and our time is the sentimental age of science fiction, so that our future is no longer likely to be described by a special kind of literature called science fiction. Our present time is dealt with by several genres or forms (novel, especially), but poetry now means a special kind of “description of the modern life, or rather of a modern and more abstract life” (Baudelaire, To Arsène Houssaye, Paris Spleen). Our new predicament may be philosophically described as enabling the new poetical possibilities of our times, as long as utopia and atopia are the two grounds for a new poem called “The Poetry of the World.” K. Dick’s and Ballard’s proses may help us say why Baudelaire’s intuition is now accurate: a new critical orphic imagination now appears, which seems to be the only way to free poetry from its generic slavery and, above all, to show the refined components of our lives and sentimental way of thinking, if we may use Schiller’s vocabulary. An objective lyricism is needed as the science fiction of today. It is deprived of any kind of naiveness.

Time: 7:30 pm
Ukrainian Institute of America / East Room