The proposed project conceptually maps out poetic attempts to redefine the relationship between subjective expression and political activism. How do poems today, in the context of new media technologies and the modes of publication and dissemination enabled by these technologies, become politically relevant? How do they impact our experience of the political? This project theorizes poetry in terms of how poems do politics, how they actualize a political specific to the expressive potentials of poetry, rather than thinking about how they represent certain already apparent political notions. Through close readings of a selection of contemporary works of poetry from across the globe published in the past decade, the project analyses how competing preoccupations over gender, race, class and national identity play out and are reconfigured in these works. In parallel, the project also evaluates current theoretical discourses on poetry in an attempt to understand how poetic works are placed within them – often with problematic results. Mapping out the intersections between major lines of thought qua poetry in analytical aesthetics (Lamarque, Kivy, Ribeiro) and in literary theory (Grossman, Culler, Izenberg, Leighton, Jackson), the project pays close attention to conceptual commonalities and divergences, reconceptualising the basis on which we can develop an explicit understanding of poetic expression, the value thereof, and for grasping the dynamics of contemporary practices of poetry. In this sense, the project focusses as much on practices of reading and interpretation – how these practices inform questions of meaning and representation, how they can be problematized, and how such practices come to be established in the first place – as on poems themselves. Starting from the question ‘What makes a poem political’, the proposed project provides a systematic overview, and critical re-conceptualization of poetic expression in the discursive crosscurrents of aesthetics, hermeneutics, and literary and new media theories.