the new utopia

Image: Kartick Chandra Pyne

the new utopia


Commentary on the book of poems by Régis Bonvicino

A poetics-violence runs through the structure of the new book of poems by Régis Bonvicino: the new utopia. The times demand. It is in the denouncement and social criticism of the mediocrity of our time, a moment in which the chorus of political correctness emerges in ready-made speeches in a cynical way, that violence is proposed. The book's images and themes are, yes, harsh, sometimes brutal. And one can clearly see that Régis Bonvicino writes poems as if he were armed against the world, and his machine gun is language.

With disconcerting formal structures, and the experimentalism typical of a poet who knows what he is doing, Régis Bonvicino reverberates “the useful side of the word” (A nova utopia 2) when, in the images forged in the poems, the language folds in on itself and provokes sensations of strangeness in the reader. The poet is a radical of form and a sharp critic of society. the new utopia“it is a book of poems that proposes itself aesthetically and politically. And the choking in his reading comes both because we recognize the corruption of the times and also because we have difficulty transiting through the poems calmly, without the astonishment that Régis Bonvicino registers in the language. A difficult book due to its purpose and style.

The word “utopia” was invented by Thomas More and had the initial meaning of describing a society in which everything worked perfectly. A place where individuals were happy and there would be complete social harmony. Over time, the word began to be used to designate fanciful thoughts, ideas that were impossible to implement, an ideal that was absolutely unattainable. The XNUMXth century, mainly through literature, also coined a word to designate chaotic futures for society: dystopia. 1984, by George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451by Ray Bradbury Clockwork Orangeby Anthony Burgess Admirable new world, by Aldous Huxley are examples of novels that project an extremely discouraging future for society.

The title of Régis Bonvicino's book, the new utopia, is already, in itself, a sophisticated construction, as it is, at the same time, poetic and political. On the one hand, it leads us to believe that just one more belief appeared, one more chimera of ideas was produced, among the many idealizations that individuals formulate. According to this interpretation, the poet, despite being combative, is in disbelief.

On the other hand, one might also think that there is some hope, some novelty in the social scene. Well, the very quality of the poems in the book indicates that poetry can be a chance. When the poet, then, states that “Poetry is dead. / More than dead. / The new utopia does not want to know about the law of the stars and the formula of the flower” (A nova utopia 6), perhaps it manages to give us a breath, even if in reverse, precisely because of the strength and value of his poems, that there would still be space for poetry. If “what is in the poem is not in the world” (January), a revolutionary redemption, the usual utopia, will only take place via poetry.

Régis Bonvicino operates a temporal and conceptual dysfunction, throughout the book's poems, between the terms utopia and dystopia. Both words, in their everyday use, point to the idea of ​​the future. It so happens that for the poet, the future is readily situated in the present. Everything happens as if we were already experiencing dystopia. It is the now that is dystopian and the new utopia, mere imagination, is also part of the construction of this scenario, “it is a clock on a tombstone” (Art).

the new utopia it is not thematized, in its proposed work, by images of flowers, light, moonlight, sun, or anything similar. It is in the space of the city, a recurrent theme in the author's poetics, that we find, as a precise description of a scenario, the image of beggars sleeping in the street, accumulated garbage, wild capitalism in the streets, prostitution of ideas, political cynicism. If this artistic proposal asserts itself politically and poetically, it is in the obsessive care with the arrangement of the words on the back, in the abrupt cuts of the images it creates, in the insolence in provoking an aesthetic sense in the unsuspecting reader (who also has to arm himself to enter this particular universe of letters), which the pace of the arch-provocative book proposes.

if the poem Howl, by Allen Ginsberg, became one of the most important books in history, anthem of beat generation, perhaps it was due to the violence of the poetic proposals and the desire for freedom that a howl called out to haunt American society in the 1950s. the new utopia, by Régis Bonvicino, we also clearly hear this sound, “another, orphan of a noia / howls on the corner” (Luz), in an attempt to aesthetically confront a cynical and unfair society. As in a violent howl, which in this case is also political, the author registers his indignation with society and the new utopia  it will still be read as the book that most represented our times.

*Rodrigo Suzuki Cintra He is a professor at the Faculty of Law of Universidade Paulista (Unip).


Regis Bonvicino. the new utopia. São Paulo, Quatro Cantos, 2022, 160 pages.

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