The Postmodern Manifesto

Editor's Note | December 2015


Help me, love poem, to make things whole again, to sing in spite of pain. It’s true the world does not cleanse itself of wars, does not wash off the blood, does not get over its hate. Its true. Yet it is equally true that we are moving toward a realisation: the violent ones are reflected in the mirror of the world, and their faces are not pleasant to look at, not even to themselves. And I go on believing in the possibility of love. I am convinced there will be mutual understanding among human beings, achieved in spite of all the suffering, the blood, the broken glass.

—Pablo Neruda, Memoirs


The spectre of the postmodern is truly haunting us.

The future of all hitherto existing society might seem like the future of individual, internal struggles. A struggle that would end each time in another struggle. Meanwhile, the markets would keep ever growing, the demand ever rising for more and more symbols—more unreal, more fantastic, more gruesome, more surprising, more ‘poetic’.

And nothing stands in better testimony or can give a better sense of our times than an anthology of contemporary poetry. To put it as honestly as possible, it has been, more often than not, an exhausting, mind-bending process to put it all together—reading sheaves of listless, surreal, despondent, mysterious poems, “through hours melting like cheap soaps going down the sewer in a gaudy world …” (thus went some or most of the lines).

This fragmentation, abstraction, absurdity will perhaps be the new aesthetics of a new world which has declared World War ISIS and it could easily be poetry, written on Time’s latest cover:

World War ISIS

ISIS will strike America

How to beat them

Welcome refugees

Fortify the borders

The US’s clueless 2016 candidates

France’s culture wars

Paris, Je t’aime

And hence, the postmodern manifesto ends with the declaration: People of the world, disunite! Each one of you recede—into your own water colour painting, under your own mausoleum shade, inside the invisible folds of the night-wind or inside a glass of margarita. Stand naked in front of the air-conditioner counting the hours, smash your lips, blow some smoke, finish your drink, do something which you can call—hiding your violet, watch the vultures, wear torn jeans, go out, sit on a bench and talk pidgin.

And yet, we bring them all together, tied in strings of gossamer, and believe that this book is one long love poem, written in spite of the smashed lips, the smoke, the circling vultures.

Pritha Kejriwal is the founder and editor of Kindle Magazine. Under her leadership the magazine has established itself as one of the leading torch-bearers of alternative journalism in the country, having won several awards, including the United Nations supported Laadli Award for gender sensitivity and the Aasra Award for excellence in media. She is also a poet, whose works have been published in various national and international journals. She is currently working on two collections of poetry, soon to be published.

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