chapter  2
12 Pages

Poetry outside security: The jagged edges of

BySoutheast Asia

Can security be escaped? This chapter speculates that it can – that a certain kind of poetry provides

a way of thinking past the dominant ontological assumptions and emotional promises of prevailing political discourses of security. While security is an idealist state promise of perfect safety and ‘smoothness’, it also reposes on a structure of fear, threat and ‘jaggedness’ through its association with militarism, repression and economic exploitation. In this chapter I argue that such poetry – which presses the limits of both textual form and psychic experience – could provide valuable clues to escaping the binary trap that orders either security or chaos, smoothness or jaggedness. By doing so it can help liberate subjectivity from a powerful modern technology of the soul which binds state and subject into an intimate, but ultimately destructive, relation.