Utopian Poetics

Horizons Without Borders: Wendy Trevino’s 'Cruel Fiction' and the Utopian Poetry of the Commune

  • Mikkel Nørregaard Jørgensen


Contemporary anti-capitalist and anti-racist politics are beginning to organize around the violence of borders. This comes in reaction to the re-enforcement of nation-states which has taken hold after the economic crisis of 2008. In this article I analyze the collection of poems, Cruel Fiction, by the American poet Wendy Trevino, to show how the new struggles are taking up poetry as one of their weapons and in doing so build on a utopian tradition of revolutionary struggle. I focus my reading around Trevino’s invocation of communal forms such as plural “We’s” and her use of historic revolutionary moments, and how this all together shapes the inherent utopian horizon in her poetry. The reading of Cruel Fiction will take form in a three-step structure investigating the way Trevino, in her poems, moves from the singular “I” over the plural “We”, finally ending with the political subject of the “Commune”. I summarize my reading by pointing to how Cruel Fiction is uniquely connected to the real political struggle going on in the present against borders and other capitalist formations, and how she forms this connection between poetry and political struggle in the figure of the commune. The commune comes to be the figure of a place of open reproduction of identity freed from the capitalist reproduction of oppression.

Keywords: Utopian activism, Poetry, Borders, Nation-state, US-Mexico border, Communism

How to Cite:

Jørgensen, M. N., (2019) “Horizons Without Borders: Wendy Trevino’s 'Cruel Fiction' and the Utopian Poetry of the Commune”, Studies in Arts and Humanities 5(1), 49-66. doi: https://doi.org/10.18193/sah.v5i1.162

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Published on
30 Apr 2019
Peer Reviewed