Poetry v/s Power: A Reading of “100 Poets against the War”


This essay critically examines the invocation of poetry as a strategy of ethical resistance against the war on Iraq in the chapbook anthology 100 Poets Against the War, which was assembled in a matter of few weeks before the war. This textual tactics figures prominently among other resistance tactics employed by the poets in the 100 poems included in this anthology. Considerable number of poems turns to the invocation of poetry, the act of poetry making, and the power of the poem as a means to initiate an inquiry into the injustice of the war and the ethical responsibility of poetry to counter this injustice. Although 100 Poets Against the War emerges with one powerful collective voice which transcends cultural and racial barriers, this thematic strand of poetry invocation to counter the war on Iraq remains quite recognizable and, in a sense, foregrounds this collective voice.