How can the new get over its specialness?
I picked up Charles Bernstein's A Poetics at the used book store and Insomnia Diary by Bob Hicok.
I've only read four pages of Bernstein and it's really got me thinking again. I read quite a bit of "language poetry" in grad school, as well as a lot of theory, but then I left it all behind. Gave away all my theory books, small chapbooks, and hemp hat. Even tossed all of my Evergreen Reviews. (ah regret).
Now I feel like I can enter that world again.
I do not like Las Vegas even if it is a perfect post modern (mordem, boredom) playground.
I do not believe in the leveling. Nice idea, but. . .
I think I think that the historical Greeks are different than the Greeks who stand outside Caesar's Palace. But I suppose either way I cannot know the historical Greeks, I can only imagine them. So how is my imagining of the historical Greek different than the man dressed up as a Greek outside Caesar's Palace? How are the character's in the Surreal Life different than all the character's they played on t.v. long long ago? What is our responsibility to the real as multiple and not a closed system that only refers to itself (Yes, Mr. B etc.)?
Alright so I did the eliptical machine and now oxygen is flowing to my brain and all those wee things from Grad. school crept back into my head.
Western Washington (My MA experience) was all about theory and consisted of an historical survey of poetry with a lot emphasis on the outsiders both in and out (via Bruce Beasley). There was a lot of backstabing, fighting, and pyschological instability among the grad students and faculty. Only a few faculty smiled. It made theory look miserable, and for a time I was miserable. I had little time to write. Huge comps. Lot's of intense classes. "Poetry" was not the emphasis. The critical was much more important than the creative. Our footsteps down the hall was a political statement indicating our camp/theory/political affiliation. I longed to just spend a lot of time writing and not feeling guilty. There's was a lot of guilt flinging around. A very temporary reversal of the typical hierarchies.
UNCG (my MFA experience) was about craft and a history of poetry excluding most of the outsiders. It was about having a lot of time to write and think about writing without a lot of strenuous classes. It was about a very intense visiting writers program. A really solid community. People smiled daily and drank on porches. I wrote a lot.
And now these experiences wrestle with each other. I thought my MA was worthless. Now I feel like it was important. The romantic and the absurd battle for supremacy ( a blurb from Bob Hicok's Insomnia Diary).