On this week’s show, I was joined by Dr. Elizabeth Knapp of Hood College in Frederick, Maryland (faculty page). I learned of her only a few days ago, upon seizing on the idea that Baudrillard is, properly speaking, a poet, a not a philosopher as such. Searching for “Baudrillard is a poet,” I stumbled on Dr. Knapp’s new collection, Requiem With an Amulet in its Beak, which has won the fittingly named Jean Feldman Poetry Prize for 2019. Her poems reference Baudrillard directly and indirectly, consciously and (perhaps) in some other way. As an example, here is
Today, I read of scientists’ warnings
about the potential dangers of sex
robots and thought of you. Some blame
the rise of right-wing populism
on postmodern windbags like you, holed
up in your university office, giving head
to your shadow. But Jean, you were right—
we are living in the desert of the real,
where signs metastasize like cancer cells,
and who hasn’t felt the Foucauldian
grip around her wrists, her ankles?
Even desire a simulacrum of itself.
I drowned in you as if in a frozen lake,
but either I or the lake was dreaming.
We tackle some of the themes from this poem, and more, as we discuss Jean Baudrillard’s prophetic and poetic prose, and the place of poetry in our discursively hectic world.