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Incest and Audience

Finally got around to reading Carl Martin's _Genii Over Saltzburg_. Terrific book. I was really taken back by the elegant surrealism. I felt like I was reading some strange combination of Charles Simic and John Ashberry. I also had to stop a few times to look up words I'd never encountered.

This looking up of words brought back some of the issues while I was working on my MA. The idea of "home grown" good 'ole American poetry. Terms such as "clever" and "academic poetry" were sometimes used to describe so-called Language Writing or poetry that enacted philosophy. Ideas about audience were also often discussed.

If poetry has a limited audience why limit it even more to academics by writing poetry (or contructing a poetics) that requires a background knowledge of Postmodern theory (linguistic and political theories etc.)
The critique of "high diction" had some anti-intellectualism built in (as is typical of American culture as in G.B.) but I also feel some sympathy or conflict with the idea of "anti-elitism."

So what is the space between "anti-elitism" and "anti-intellectual?" For a while I thought about layers. An accessible surface with many layers underneath (but this might play into the game of "find the hidden meaning" or "find the nugget of wisdom.")

So me education already sets me apart. Makes me elitist to some extent. But what exactly does elitism mean?

Is it possible to seperate political elitism from other kinds of elitism? If so, how can we reconcile the idea of everything being already political?

This is a continual conflict. I often pick up books of poetry by highly educated poets and enjoy them without fully knowing the theories or poetics that inform them. But I don't know. I am also a university teacher and poet.

So does the type of diction used by a poetry limit their audience? Does this limiting of audience amount to a kind of incest and consequent deformity of perspective?

I just picked up Ben Friedlander's _Simulcast_ , Jed Rasula's _Syncopations_ , and Stephen Ratcliffe's _Listening to Reading_ from the UNCG library. I am excited to read them even if I don't "understand" all of them.

But I also wrote an MA thesis, after reading a lot of literary theory, bogged down with theory buzzwords and what felt later like pretencious diction.

I suppose I do like my poetry all ways. Whether the immediacy of the Beats and NY School poets or the more enacted philosophy of Leslie Scalapino or someone in-between those poles like Ron Silliman.

But, again, are we all in an incestous relationships? Will our children and their children end up looking weak and pale (i.e. the royal family)?


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