Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

After Bucha…

2022.05.10 - Tags: ,

The massive Russian invasion of Ukraine and the savage cruelties of many of Russia’s soldiers have brought to mind for me and many other journalists and writers Adorno’s anguished lament of almost 80 years ago :

“After Auschwitz, to write a poem is barbaric…” … and that barbarism “is why it has become impossible to write poetry today. »

« …nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch, und das frisst auch die Erkenntnis an, die ausspricht, warum es unmöglich ward, heute Gedichte zu schreiben.“

– Theodor W. Adorno: Kulturkritik und Gesellschaft (1955)

Impossible, under the impact of those images for Adorno at that moment, just ten years after the end of World War II, but —as Adorno, Brecht, Yevtushenko and many others recognized in practice — it is even more necessary and urgent than before to create works of art celebrating life and possibility.

The images of the massacres in Bucha and other villages, the destruction of schools, apartment buildings and even a maternity hospital by bombs and missiles of the Russian forces in Ukraine, have stunned me in much the same way as did Auschwitz and all the rest to Adorno, making almost all other concerns seem trivial. But there is nothing I can do to end it; I can only do what I , here, now am capable of. I know that however terrible this war is now, and however far its waves of destruction expand, it will come to an end. Leaving the survivors with problems as enormous as those that faced the Europeans after 1945, as described for Germany in Harald Jähner’s eloquent Aftermath.

We must continue to write poetry and create all other forms of art precisely to overcome and surpass the barbarity. And thus I feel especially urged to return to my next work of fiction, a continuation of my take on the struggle for dignity and freedom that was my novel Rabble.

Geoffrey Fox (Gef)
Writings / blogs: http://geoffreyfox.com/

Adorno