/ 21 March 2023

Versopolis Podcast #2: Political potential of poetry

Monika Herceg & Dr Eric Powell

Why were Poets exiled from Plato’s Republic? Why were Shelley and Byron cancelled in their time? How, if at all, can we separate the art from the artist? Can the political potential of poetry be usurped to facilitate hate, division and violence? Is Instagram poetry by the likes of Rupi Kaur a gateway to more ‘serious’ poetry? These questions are explored by poet Monika Herceg and philosopher Dr Eric Powell in their conversation with Dr Mitja Drab.

Monika Herceg is a poet, playwright and editor from Croatia. She is the author of three poetry collections and four drama pieces. She was awarded multiple prizes for her work, among them the poetry debut prize Goran for Young Poets. Being the most awarded young author in recent Croatian history, she is sometimes called a ‘literary sensation’. Her latest drama, Kill Yourself, Dad, was awarded the Marin Držić award. Her works have been translated into more than fifteen languages. In her work she explores the topics of poverty, domestic violence, immigration, and class and gender inequalities.

Dr Eric Powell is a visiting researcher at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ljubljana, where he is currently finishing his book project The Politics of Lyric: A Social History of Shelley's Forms. He is also working on a nonfiction book for a general audience, provisionally titled The Bible of Atheists and Revolutionaries: A History of Shelley's Queen Mab. Eric is Head Editor on the global research project Data and Evidence for Justice Reform at the World Bank. He completed his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2021, where he was the editor of Chicago Review. His work has been published or is forthcoming in English Literary History, Thinking Verse, Socialist Forum, Chicago Review, and Notre Dame Review.