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BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

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Subject:

Re: British poets

From:

Michael Gardiner <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Michael Gardiner <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 9 Jun 1998 13:51:09 +0100 (BST)

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (60 lines)

Coming into this Anthony Frazer/ Doug Oliver/ Chris Emery debate a couple
of days late, but:

email is a fact of all university environments and most company
environments. You're likely to reach 95% of critics who can be bothered to
look. More important, unless you're an unusually slow typist, it's much
much quicker - I reckon this message will take ten to twenty minutes to
type, and maybe I'll send one a day. So I find it difficult to take a
techno-determinist stance towards the supremacy of the uber-Prynne. I
think those of us that already do this need to take responsibility for
creating connections and building critical avenues. (For the third time,
anyone going to take uppoint about Prynne criticism as a possible echo of
New Criticism, go back to the original message and answer it?)

We have big problems with Britian here: firstly, there is nothing 'simple
geographical' about the idea of Great Britain. Second, generously
including Scots into it isn't going to cut any ice here in the mood
Scottish English departments are in. There's been a stand-off for a few
years, with cultural/ literature figures yelling 'vulgar unionist' and
'vulgar nationalist' at each other across the barricades. Only the
absorption of theory can solve this: cultural identity as more accurate
than national ones based on constitutions, engagement with the idea of the
nation under global postcoloniality (you need this given the above
discussion of whether nations are good things or bad things), grown-up
psychoanalysis, interdisciplinarity.

Which brings me to the 'avant-garde'. It makes me cringe as well, but I
need some description of a literary-critical community willing to engage
with the creative and its theoretical interfaces which create some kind of
social meaning, and saves it from the workshop, express your thoughts on
the net, post your soul to the cyberworld, type of pish which can
bung up discussion groups like this (and I'm not saying this one). A deep
suspicion of the idea of the avant-garde, I think, risks not only a dusty
Bennite notion of populism, but an unwillingness to accept that
universities and their poncy ideas have a role to play. These are the
institutions many of us work for/ in, and self-flagellating academics are
only one small grotesque step from self-flagellating 'men, men'. (ok let's
get discussion of women writers up towards 50% irrespective of who's on
the list - I could use advice on reading Denise Riley, Veronica F-T, Gael
Turnbull, Helen MacDonald).

But I can see a kind of geography emerging in recent messages...
possibilties for reorienting oneself relative to the movements of big and
wee publishing houses. This couldn't happen by letter or even at readings.
Robin thanks for yours (don't know if it was Cc'd...). I'll follow those
up.

Michael Gardiner.










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