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Coming to Jakarta: A Poem about Terror

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A devastating revelation of violence, exploitation, and corrupt politics, Coming to Jakarta derives its title from the role played by the CIA, banks, and oil companies in the 1965 slaughter of more than half a million Indonesians. A former Canadian diplomat and now a scholar at the University of California, Peter Dale Scott has said that the poem "is triggered by what we k A devastating revelation of violence, exploitation, and corrupt politics, Coming to Jakarta derives its title from the role played by the CIA, banks, and oil companies in the 1965 slaughter of more than half a million Indonesians. A former Canadian diplomat and now a scholar at the University of California, Peter Dale Scott has said that the poem "is triggered by what we know of the bloody Indonesian massacre… However it is not so much a narrative of exotic foreign murder as one person’s account of what it is like to live in the 20th century, possessing enough access to information and power to feel guilty about global human oppression, but not enough to deal with it. The usual result is a kind of daily schizophrenia by which we desensitize ourselves to our own responses to what we read in the newspapers. The psychic self-alienation which ensues makes integrative poetry difficult but necessary." With a brilliant use of collage, placing the political against the personal––childhood acquaintances are among the darkly powerful figures––Scott works in the tradition of Pound’s Cantos, but his substance is completely his own.


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A devastating revelation of violence, exploitation, and corrupt politics, Coming to Jakarta derives its title from the role played by the CIA, banks, and oil companies in the 1965 slaughter of more than half a million Indonesians. A former Canadian diplomat and now a scholar at the University of California, Peter Dale Scott has said that the poem "is triggered by what we k A devastating revelation of violence, exploitation, and corrupt politics, Coming to Jakarta derives its title from the role played by the CIA, banks, and oil companies in the 1965 slaughter of more than half a million Indonesians. A former Canadian diplomat and now a scholar at the University of California, Peter Dale Scott has said that the poem "is triggered by what we know of the bloody Indonesian massacre… However it is not so much a narrative of exotic foreign murder as one person’s account of what it is like to live in the 20th century, possessing enough access to information and power to feel guilty about global human oppression, but not enough to deal with it. The usual result is a kind of daily schizophrenia by which we desensitize ourselves to our own responses to what we read in the newspapers. The psychic self-alienation which ensues makes integrative poetry difficult but necessary." With a brilliant use of collage, placing the political against the personal––childhood acquaintances are among the darkly powerful figures––Scott works in the tradition of Pound’s Cantos, but his substance is completely his own.

47 review for Coming to Jakarta: A Poem about Terror

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kia

    Even more pertinent now, over three decades after its publication. What are we to do, faced with the knowledge of the brutality of the American empire’s crimes? How can I live a contented life knowing all that I know—and I hardly know anything? “You and I are not designed for the world we now live in.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carolina

    "and I have since believed in the face of every nuclear headline the force flooding those millions of high trees even in the frost of night will survive the next war whether or not we do" THE political poem of the 20th century. No one talks about our world through power, history, terror, war and politics like Peter Dale Scott, who is one of my favorite authors academic wise. I'm gonna need to read this one multiple times to really absorb such a sublime work. I admire him so much for translating "and I have since believed in the face of every nuclear headline the force flooding those millions of high trees even in the frost of night will survive the next war whether or not we do" THE political poem of the 20th century. No one talks about our world through power, history, terror, war and politics like Peter Dale Scott, who is one of my favorite authors academic wise. I'm gonna need to read this one multiple times to really absorb such a sublime work. I admire him so much for translating his emotional and political work into poetry, my type of guy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I’m very glad I read this. It’s an interesting, odd piece. The author tells a story through a book length poem. It is the story of his family. It is the story of this country. It is the story of Jakarta. It is the story of the way family and power have worked at the highest levels of our society and world. I’m impressed by how he has told the story. The use of the same form throughout the book was a little distracting - but it worked for him nonetheless. He told the story and he told it well…and I’m very glad I read this. It’s an interesting, odd piece. The author tells a story through a book length poem. It is the story of his family. It is the story of this country. It is the story of Jakarta. It is the story of the way family and power have worked at the highest levels of our society and world. I’m impressed by how he has told the story. The use of the same form throughout the book was a little distracting - but it worked for him nonetheless. He told the story and he told it well…and it made me think about how I tell stories.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Simply the most important book of poetry ever written. The history of the 20th century is contained within its covers, beautifully & devastatingly interwoven with Dr. Scott's own life and the Gospel of Thomas, Bhagavad Gita, and work of Ezra Pound. If you want to understand how and why we are so deeply trapped in cycles of exploitation and degradation, track down a copy, and follow the footnotes if you need. Simply the most important book of poetry ever written. The history of the 20th century is contained within its covers, beautifully & devastatingly interwoven with Dr. Scott's own life and the Gospel of Thomas, Bhagavad Gita, and work of Ezra Pound. If you want to understand how and why we are so deeply trapped in cycles of exploitation and degradation, track down a copy, and follow the footnotes if you need.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Didi Chang-Park

    will revisit

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    This is a very inspiring book. A book about terror, the terror imposed upon the world by the empire of the United States of America. It is written in poetic form, an epic poetic form, something that is extremely powerful. But jut because it is in this form do not think it has not been exhaustively researched. This is book one of a trilogy by Peter Dal Scott.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    This poem got me into writed mixed genre and academic poetry. Very powerful way to portray truth.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    quite intricate and detailed, deserves a second read ... and some research

  9. 4 out of 5

    Darren

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gregg

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dr. Carl Ludwig Dorsch

  12. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robert Reeves

  14. 4 out of 5

    John

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jin

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jewel Pereyra

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alex Boeschenstein

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ak Rockefeller

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Craig

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kalin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    a poem about terror. Interesting

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kim Mahaffy

  25. 5 out of 5

    John

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Banayan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Al Maki

  30. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Meng

  31. 4 out of 5

    Stef

  32. 5 out of 5

    andra

  33. 4 out of 5

    Kitap

  34. 5 out of 5

    JSA Lowe

  35. 4 out of 5

    Smiles Lewis

  36. 5 out of 5

    B.R. Gonzales

  37. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  38. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  39. 5 out of 5

    Laura Leaney

  40. 4 out of 5

    Biblionorth

  41. 4 out of 5

    Cepi Sabre

  42. 4 out of 5

    Laura Astri

  43. 4 out of 5

    H

  44. 4 out of 5

    Tasshin Fogleman

  45. 4 out of 5

    Jin

  46. 4 out of 5

    Freeman Ng

  47. 4 out of 5

    Myles

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