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Haze cleared my head, kindof

Rainy day and a Monday. However, while giving a test on Irish drama I read some Haze by Mark Wallace.

I feel much better knowing the issues a little more clearly without simple solutions or binaries and it implicates and situates.

The idea of the pure has been driving me up the wall. It is refreshing to see some honesty about avant garde marketing. Perhaps a different kind than some other kinds but marketing nonetheless.

"Poetry Marketing" and "Avant Garde Deoderant" touch and explore the heated issue of branding as mentioned on Silliman's blog a while back.

"Communal Perversities" is so biting funny. I bit my lip to keep the silence as my students wrote about Irish identity (and hopefully remembered the limitations of the English/Irish binary).

Knowledge and private property. Knowledge as action/activity.

Progress and the word "derivative": when I was in the indie cd store about a year ago I asked if Interpol was derivative of Joy Division. The cool young owner of the store said sure. It took him a while to realize the negative use of the word derivative.

One comment I heard a lot in the Greensboro MFA program from professors is the "avant garde" isn't doing anything new. They are doing the same thing they did forty years ago. I also heard a lot of poets say they couldn't get into my poems because they didn't have a taste for "language poetry." I wasn't writing from the langpo tradition by I was exploring philosophy and language. Everything innovative=pretencious=academic=language poetry.


The easy going conversational first person epiphany lyric poems are anything but academic.

O my.

What does academic mean? A style or a power? Can a style be academic?

So I read all of Stephen Dobyns and James Tate and wrote nice little fables which many more poets loved. I mean who doesn't want to be loved and accepted. I don't want to stink (as Mark Wallace puts it in "avant garde deoderant"). I mean the mfa workshop was supposed to represent an ideal audience (they all payed big bucks and sacrificed to learn "the craft") so if they didn't "get it" who would?

So I wrote an MFA thesis with transcendence, beauty, lyric with a whole lot of Irish themes because everyone knows how marketable an "Irish" poet can be. etc. etc. etc.

But it only took me a summer to recover from the MFA "program."

Thank whoever for Carborro.

"On Cognitive Limits" helps me resee the practice and theory of knowledge as activity rather than accumulation.

Are innovative poetic practices going to overthrow tyranny?

I think writing as helping writer and audience to realize their complex interaction with language is much better way to describe the great hope.

Got to find out about the multiplicity of forms.



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Maurice Scully, The Basic Colours. Durham, UK: Pig Press, 1994.
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