When I was a young rebellious man (as opposed to now being an old rebellious man) I thought it crafty to take two opposing ideas and juxtapose them by melding them into one phrase that on the surface appeared to be a contradiction, an oxymoron. Examples might be
- Contemporary antiquities
- Elevated valley
- Stupid genius
- Utopian nihilist
That last one is a real-world example. I can’t think of any that I’d have thought of at 21, but “utopian nihilist” is the type of phrase that I’d have enjoyed coming up with. I didn’t conjure this one, however. Milo Martin did.
Milo Martin is a West Coast slam poet who has traveled extensively in Europe as a touring poet. He is also the founder of the Utopian Nihilist poetry movement. Their principles are intriguing and exist as a list of 26 proclamations, to be found in the back of Martin’s debut book of poems, Poems For The Utopian Nihilist.
Here are a few hand selected verses from the Utopian Nihilist Manifesto:
- We are born Utopians; it is through the scarring of socialization that some of us become Nihilists.
- The Utopian sees the wine glass as half-full whereas the Nihilist sees it as half-empty. The Utopian Nihilist sees a libation suitable for consumption and ponders the history of the grape.
- Eclipse the obstacles. That which is undeniable cannot be denied.
- Do not consternate so much about the creation of art; make it the way that your pristine genesis mind initially bloomed it. Judge not self, lest thee be judged. Employ disregard.
- Vehement resistance to common ideas and swimming against the stream is our moral obligation.
- Democracy is dead, once a beautiful ideology.
- Hierarchies are illusory man-made constructs.
- Happiness is temporal and should be treated as such, knowing that there is also much pain and consternation to be experienced in balance. We are the supersonic Samsara sponge. This is our job as cheerful proletarians. As Utopian Nihilists. To soak up the paradox; to snort up the salt and pepper of things.
As you can see, there’s nothing original there, only the repackaging of things already said. So is Martin’s poetry. You can read the full review of Poems For The Utopian Nihilist here.
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