Utopian Studies 29.3 Jason Lagapa. Negative Theology and Utopian Thought in Contemporary American Poetry: Determined Negations. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 148 pp. Cloth, $69.99, isbn 978-3-319-55284-2. Reviewed by Scarlett Higgins, University of New Mexico Jason Lagapa’s Negative Theology and Utopian Thought in Contemporary American Poetry tackles a question that has been a difficult one to address for crit - ics attempting to discuss contemporary experimental poetry in the line of “ Language writing.” This is a tradition that claims to be politically engaged (and which deals with topics pertaining to politics, certainly) but which never- theless does not tend explicitly to exhort its readers to take concrete political actions. How can we thus judge this poetry’s political efficacy when there are no clear or obvious political actions associated with it? Lagapa’s recourse to negative theology and utopian thought tells us that we should pay close atten- tion to matters pertaining to temporality and failure within this line of writing. Negative theolog y is a type of relig ious thought that proposes using “neg- ative statements as a means of attesting not only to the superior being of God but also to the representational deficiencies of language” (2). This strategy
Utopian Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Jan 5, 2019
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