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Facebook Poet: Poetic Dissent and Social Media in Contemporary India

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Abstract

The rise of Hindu majoritarian fundamentalism in India over the last few years has seen a particular and distinctive form of literary resistance – the phenomenon of established and amateur poets publishing and circulating their work on Facebook and WhatsApp. Starting with the controversy that surrounded the “condom” poem by Srijato Bandopadhyay, I move on to other, less famous poetic responses by established poets like Mandakranta Sen and Sunil Ganguly, as well as amateur ones such as Tapabrata Bhaduri and Aarjyatirtha. This chapter examines this particular form of literary activism, and explores what it does both to societal conceptions of literature-as-dissent, as well as author-reader relations. I argue that it is possible, through a study of the production, circulation and reception of these poems, to theorise the possibility of a new literary community of dissent. The use of social media in this way allows a gesture towards the undermining of hierarchies – between poet and reader, as well as between established and amateur poets.
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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld Literature and Dissent
EditorsLorna Burns, Katie Muth
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN (Print)9781138561861, 9781138561854
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

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