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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 107 | volume  | May 2016



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 107May 2016
Essays

HE IS THE ONE TO CHERISH, SWEETIE

ON FACEBOOK HIJACKING MACEDONIAN POETRY FROM ACADEMICISM AND THE PERSISTENCE OF MISOGYNY


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Elizabeta Bakovska

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HE’S THE ONE TO CHERISH, SWEETIE!

In 1970, the Bosnian writer Meša Selimović wrote: “Faith is a law that defines the whole life. Poetry is beyond that law, it does not recognise it, it demands freedom for the word and thought, and it denies the perfection of the world that God has created. To live by dreaming, hoping, anticipating, implies not accepting the things as they are. It is a rebellion” (Selimović, 1970: 158). Viewed and experienced not only as an expression of human creativity, but also as a site for practicing one’s genuine individuality as opposed to the collective, the unified and the externally imposed, it is of little wonder that today, more than forty years after these words, poetry has also become one of the most frequent “statuses” on social media, such as Facebook. The social media are the outlet where poetry can be written and launched without the traditional filters such as proof-readers, editors and publishers; for the readers it is easily accessible and free of charge, and for the authors it also provides the immediate feed-back (in the form of “likes” and “comments”) that they would not have from a hard copy. It can therefore be said that Facebook poetry has become a popular culture genre, a cultural product for mass consumption vis-à-vis the poetry published and read in the limited circles of writers’ associations and academia.[1] Like any form or shape popular culture can take, it has encompassed “creative expressions of ordinary people as opposed to those of a society’s elite or educated classes…” (Magoulick, 2006).
    In the Macedonian context, the phenomenon of Facebook poetry has become quite prominent, especially in the last couple of years. Prior to its emergence, as any other national literary form, the newly written Macedonian poetry was created and read by a limited audience, while the criteria of what made “good poetry” were prescribed by (almost exclusively male) canonised poets themselves, critics and professors, as “the universities are conservators of tradition, protectors of what they regard as the best and most valuable monuments to human invention and creative expression” (Schudsom, 1998: 497). The interpretation of poetry and the attribution of quality and value to what was produced often had little significance for the common reader, who was puzzled and could rarely relate to the poems (and poets to that matter) that had received the highest acclaims. For example, Gane

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1. These features feed into one of the most popular myths about popular culture, “the one of its easy accessibility, folk nature, its closeness to the ‘popular’ taste and mass audience…” (Атанасова, 2012: 124).






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