Poems on Surveillance

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Last year was big for Big Brother, and 2014 is shaping up similarly. The queasy ethics of observation continue to fill front pages across the country, from the Snowden affair to the limited release of Google Glass. What is privacy, anyway, in an age of drone strikes and targeted advertising? What are our rights?

These poets—heightened observers by profession—have contributed new works, political and personal alike, entering into a larger dialogue on what it means to have open eyes and ears in the twenty-first century. Poetry is not a mirror held up to the world; it is a lens.

Editors' Note: Many of these poems are part of Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics, forthcoming from Black Ocean. The online version of this feature contains four poems that did not appear in the print issue.

Photograph: fotdmike

My general impression is that poets are being driven insane by this issue.
And with good reason.

I actually found comfort in amy Kings  'The Stars are Calling, Skin Sacks', specifically the fourth Stanza "Every man is a symbol/Along the axis of Rorschach etchings/I see your face again...I learn so much in hiding".
The idea that the authenticity of self and spirit still needs to be seen, recognized, deciphered, that there's a difference between beeing 'watched'  "the way they watched me felt like love" and being 'seen'-in this case knowledge of still not being seen " In Real Life...could not map us out of eleven dimensions. For me, this work raises my awareness that  there's hope that what the parts of ourselves which we hold sacred may still have immunity from the the brief superficial surveys, snap shots and fragmented summaries of random informatioin captured about us and then manipulated to sell more bacon.

A fine example of the watched watching the watchers and documenting it in a way that will last. Thank you Snowden, et al.

He is misshapen as made on the distaff side; formed, perhaps to codify, not what he said, rather the form the mouth made, perhaps the perfecting of a prototype, the testing, retesting, adjusting to signify while contestants play the game, he without a hint of discrimination accept by placement and the slightest hint of preference.

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