She begins by talking about the semantic history of innovation. Innovation as sedition and treason esp. in 14th and 15th century. She then gives a short but good background on the innovations and theories of language writings. She mentions how Bruce Andrews called referentiality the misguided "search for the pot at the end of the rainbow, the commodity or ideology that brings fulfillment."
So the very crude version goes a little something like this:
modernists react against the romantics
plain spoken lyric workshop mode reacts against the impersonal modernists
language poetics reacts against plain spoken lyric workshop mode with theory based heavily in Marxism.
So the the signifed as a commodity I can see. But can't the signifier also become a commodity? A fetish?
Newness and innovation are vital to capitalism. Associative logic is certainly employed very nicely to market products.
So the plain spoken Sundance movies and the David Lynch surrealism exist side by side. Does one negate the other?
Then again, I find myself wondering about variety. The presentation of variety in Fence magazine versus the presentation of variety in say, Hambone.
I like a lot of the poems in Fence. They pick some good stuff. But for some reason (maybe Steve Evans has gotten to me) I find the eclectic mix disconcerting. Why?
Does Fence and Fence books employ newness and innovation in a similar way to say Downy? Does Fence make newness a commodity in and of itself?
Is it merely eclectic?
Chicago review is a "well-respected university lit journal" with a history of publishing innovative writing. It feels a lot different than Fence. I am not sure why after a year or two of reading fence I am more drawn to Combo, Hambone, Chicago Review. Some of the same poets publish in both Hambone and Fence.
Does presentation and production of art make a difference in meaning? Will I get something different out of reading a Kasey Mohammad poem in Fence versus reading the same poem in Hambone? If I am honest with myself, I would say yes. I think I might come away with a slightly different reading.
So what does all this mean? Is Fence evil?
I think the editors have the best of intentions. I don't think they are making big bucks off Fence.
Anyway, this is an old debate, but I am still bothered by it.
I do believe in small productions networking with other small productions.
Cells over sales.
The bottom line does not have to lessen the quality of a given art, but it often does.