Tuesday, November 22, 2011

To be a little more precise...

"The trouble with too much contemporary American literature is it seems to be dominated by a certain naive bourgeois cultural 'whiteness,' an unconscious manifestation of Ishmael Reed's Atonist/Wallflower political-economic system and Robert Coover's Uncle Sam/Phantom in The Burning Game..."

That quote from the previous blog post needs clarification. No one's criticized me for it yet, but if they had they'd been right. Let me be more precise by defining "contemporary American literature" as the Poetry Foundation and big corporate publishers who require you to have an agent, etc.

This conversation among Kent Johnson, John Bloomberg-Rissmann and others articulates exactly what I meant to say, and since I can't say it better, here's the link, and the author Johannes' opening remarks [the revealing conversation follows the question]:



“Free (Market) Verse”: Steve Evans on the Poetry Foundation and Conservative Politics/Aestheticsby on Nov.17, 2011, under Uncategorized

One commentor to another post made a link to this piece by Steve Evans.

Excerpt:If there was no trace in the magazine’s cartoon gallery of a cohort of midwestern white guys with business backgrounds aspiring to write instantly “accessible” poems about authentic American life for the amusement and improvement of semi-literate “regular” folks, that’s because it would take a presidency as benighted and hokey as that of George W. Bush to bring such a group to prominence. Through men like Dana Gioia, John Barr, and Ted Kooser, Karl Rove’s battle-tested blend of unapologetic economic elitism and reactionary cultural populism is now being marketed in the far-off reaches of the poetry world. A curiously timed gift from a pharmaceutical heir who, before slipping into four decades of crippling depression, had submitted a pseudonymous item or two to Chicago’s Poetry magazine, which politely rejected them, has bankrolled the unlikely effort.



Thanks to Johannes for posting this at Montevidayo and Kent Johnson for sharing it with me.

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