Brecht dies : August 14th

This week is the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Bertolt Brecht. My how time flies!He died young, at the age of 58.
I've been dedicated to Brechtasy all my adult life because he understood something about cultural discourse that others haven't and while he is usually associated with the term 'epic' theatre he later preferred to call it as 'dialectical' theatre.
On this I strongly agree as the association with dialectics is a much better description of what he was about than the term epic.
There's a good commemorative piece here on Brecht -- but like all Brecht scholarship you get out ofThe cover of Poems 1913-1956 the study of Brecht what you want to find. Nonetheless, he is usually treated either as a cultural icon or a densely obscure theatre theorist.
Unless you wanted to go off and read his plays -- it's tempting to say,"why bother?" But for today -- this moment in historical time, in the crimson shadow of a slaughter in Lebanon and Iraq -- Brecht is the most relevant in the form of his poems.
I've had his collected Poems 1913-1956 open on my desk for the past two weeks,as I've referred you dear readers often to some of them. Today, in order to mark his anniversary, I'll dust off Poems and Songs from the Plays -- a collection that seems to have been dropped from the Methuen catalogue. But it's good, darn good.
There's so many joys to be won from reading Brecht and when you do you get to pilot your way through the other radical cultural identities from Weimar Germany, Grosz, Heartfield, Piscator,Benjamin, Eisler, et al. 'Tis a total package that incorporates visual art, music, philosophy...and dialectics, of course.
Those still alive can't say 'never'
No certainty can be certain
It cannot stay as it is.
When the rulers have already spoken
That is when the ruled start speaking.
Who dares to talk of 'never'?
Whose fault is it if oppression still remains? It's ours.
whose job will it be to get rid of it? Just ours.
Whoever's been beaten down must get to his feet.
He who is lost must give battle.
He who is aware where he stands -- how can anyone stop him moving on?
Those who were losers today will be triumphant tomorrow
And from never will come: today.
--BB-Praise of Dialectics
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