From the Peter Metres REVIEW of Landscapes of Dissent, Guerrilla Poetry & Public Space Jules Boykoff and Kaia Sand.
(Palm Press, 2008).
Landscape’s particular intervention into this conversation is to establish first a theoretical framework, using theories of geography and public space, by which to valorize the work of what they call “guerrilla poets” — poets operating on the edges of (or against) the law, whose page is public space itself, and whose readership is anyone who traverses those spaces. In contrast to Jurgen Habermas’ idealized notion of the “public sphere,” Landscape co-authors Jules Boykoff and Kaia Sand — both notable poets themselves, both on and off the page — note the criticism of a public sphere “rooted in reconciliation and unity which surreptitiously blunts the sharp edges of difference and inequality” (14) and embrace Nancy Fraser’s notion of “subaltern counterpublics” (14). Amid the thicket of laws that govern and curtail free expression, guerrilla poets negotiate ways to appropriate public space from strictly commercial or privatized interests, and attempt to render visible “the sharp edges of difference and inequality.”