In Its Own Right (IIOR) is an online archive and ongoing research project collecting 21st century contemporary literature, text-based art and text-inspired design, classified as such due to the presence of divisive poetics or flyting (i.e. contention, battling through words or freestyle expressions of extravagant wit, usually conducted in spoken or written verse) as a present factor. 21st century flyting contributions are encouraged to take on multiple shapes and forms such as fiction, essay, interview, poetry, creative non-fiction, experimental writing, art, design or craft. Submissions must respond to a theme or prompt expressed below; themes are subject to evolve over time.
IIOR intends to better define as well as expand the traditional concept of flyting so that it applies to emergent flyting approaches; it will also serve to document current, poetic contributions in existing literary sources and artworks—multiple genres inclusive. Archiving 21st century flyting is significant in monitoring, cultivating and preserving free speech and artistic expression, as well as better understanding the flyt as a deeply rooted phenomenon, rapidly transforming in light of emerging philosophies and technologies. IIOR aspires to map the area between “holding one’s tongue” versus flyting in response to morphing faces of ideology, dogmatism and oppression.
Historically rooted in Germanic and Nordic cultures, flyting is its own form of non-violent fighting, but it can also be a textual or verbal initiator of a future conflict. The presence of flyting has been found in traditional texts such as Beowulf, Lokasenna andThe Iliad and continues to be a prevailing factor in literary and artistic practices, often showing protagonists in conflict through antagonistic, combative verse with perceived, threatening forces.
Freedom of expression is often challenged. One must maintain the freedom to respond to a given environment, especially via the creation of literature and art—even if responses are brutally honest, quarrelsome or evocative. Maintaining and preserving distinct ways to motivate change through literature and art should be a priority—if not already one. Political philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain notes in Democracy on Trial, “We are in danger of losing democratic civil society. It is that simple and that dangerous, springing as it does, not from a generous openness to sharp disagreement—democratic feistiness—but from a cynical and resentful closing off of others.”
valeveil is currently accepting submissions for this project.