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POETRYETC Home

POETRYETC  2002

POETRYETC 2002

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Subject:

academic poetry (& thanks to Mairead Byrne)

From:

Gabriel Gudding <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and poetics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 5 Sep 2002 13:42:56 -0500

Content-Type:

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Doug and Kent, I wonder if you could fold in a reference or two to Alan
Golding's _From Outlaw to Classic_, into your interesting repartee,
Golding's being the now famous text whose central thesis is that it is
commonplace for outlaw works to be coopted into the academy, as the
Language school certainly has been. Maybe I'm just assuming you guys have
read it. It's funny too that Ron still holds that distinction up, because
along with Donald Allen's Ron's _In the American Tree_  was kind of key to
the academic cooptation of langpo. Of course it kind of begs the question,
though, as to what's tame enough to be called "outlaw" by the academy --
since in many ways there was nothing tamer than Language poetry. Golding's
primary example was WCW, also very tame poet -- and not terribly "outlaw"
at all.

Ont he flipside, that doesn't mean that ALL works from those schools are
"classics" in teh old sense by any means (because they were never terribly
energetic or outlawish to begin with). But in terms of the copycatting of
that material, Kent's right: it's pretty commonplace for MFA students to do
chance-based poetics as well as constraint writing nowaday -- though there
is a real distinction between the Brown University MFA McPoem and the
Cornell MFA McPoem or the SUNY Buff McPoem or and the Iowa MFA McPoem.

And a public thanks to Mairead Byrne for sticking up for me.
Gabe

At 01:24 PM 9/5/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>Doug Barbour said,
>
> >Kent...
>
> >Hank, you, I, and many others, even Bernstein, ARE academics,
> >(as well)...
>
>Weell, Doug, I don't know. I teach at a decidedly rural community
>college. I am an "Instructor" of remedial composition and Beginning
>Spanish. That is what I teach. Research and publication is not only
>not a priority, it is frowned upon. Frankly, I think one could say that
>I am an Academic in the sense that a bricklayer is an Architect.
>
>I don't dislike academics. Some of my best friends are
>academics... And OK, OK, so I am, *in part* an academic, even if I
>am of lower race. The point I was pointing to in that epigram (and
>I've made this point more conventionally and expansively
>elsewhere) is that it is foolish --as well as disingenuous-- to
>continue to frame Language poetry as non or anti-academic.
>Language poetry is academic poetry through and through and has
>been becoming such with increasing insistence (that word is on
>purpose) for the past number of years. Many of its old leading
>figures have been building careers in academia; literary theorists
>and journals are widely ga-ga over Language poetry; and creative
>writing programs are increasingly staffed and studented by writers
>whose poetics orbit the original = = = center. This last is a
>complex phenomenon, of course, but undeniable-- the MacPoem or
>I-centered poem is still rampant, obviously, and always will be, but
>the "cool" creative writing students, of which there are legions, now
>write "Language-like" poems.
>
>Again, this is not a bad thing. But the poetry Silliman advocates is
>no longer outside the academy, nor is its "poetics" marginalized, in
>any fair sense of the word, inside the academy. This fact, as I said,
>is not ipso facto bad. But it has certain implications, some of which
>may not be good for the fullest possible health of poetic experiment.
>
>Kent

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