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How can we know our victories?

I hear a lot of complaints about the Iowa poets (I have participated sometimes) from the 1970's. A kind of McPoem (ala Mr. Hall) narrative, easily digested etc. Now Iowa is on the other side. Mostly avant guarde inspired/influenced poetry. Iowa has power. Iowa is bringing the avant strategies into the mainstream. Are those of us who didn't attend Iowa on their shirttails?

Tony Tost pondered period style briefly on his blog a while back. Not sure how to define the period. But like the last 60 or so years, Iowa might be at the center. An example: I heard a lot of the criticism against APR for publishing the period style coming out of Iowa (in the 70's and 80's especially). Now APR is publishing a different kind of poetry. "Risky." But it's still the kind of poetry coming out of Iowa.

Originality. How can we know we are not just plugging in to the period surge? Is it ok to plug into the period surge (with a little of our own juice to boot).

Again, the new for the sake of the new seems empty without connecting it something greater (since the new is quickly old and new for the sake of new smacks of art for art's sake).

What is the value of innovation? Mindfulness. A new way of seeing the world. Waking up. Uncovering how language creates the world and recreating.

One voice. Under god.

Multivoices under language.

Language is god.


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