Nota re a map of bloggosphere poetics.
Quiet muggy Friday I feel like tooting a horn.
In the poetics of bloggosphere, I see 2 large general blogislands or tendencies stemming from branches of 20th-cent. unofficial experimental poetry.
1) stemming from NY School, mostly. The underlying stance seems to be a kind of modesty regarding the place of poetry in culture at large. Poetry is deeply playful & unserious; it is an aesthetic response to the world of experience, which knowingly knows its ephemerality; we respond to it as art within the world of art; yet this playfulness paradoxically & tangentially colors reality too, so eventually it becomes seriously unserious or a committed stance toward life as a whole in some sense - a poetic response to experience. . .
2) stemming from Modern/Projectivist/Langpo, mostly. The underlying stance seems to pivot on a faith in an "avant-garde project" which is not simply a playful response to existence but a determination to change socio-political circumstances; art is seen in the context of social reality, which has a kind of immediacy & forcefulness - a challenge to commit oneself - which encourages what could be called revolutionary attitudes toward both art and society.
& where do I, HG Poet, stand with regard to these islands?
It will be objected that I am reducing these tendencies to cartoon stereotypes; that there is a basic aesthetic component to the # 2 stance, as well as underlying social commitments to # 1.
Well, I have learned from & been attracted to both tendencies. But I am sceptical.
If I think of the "minor style" of the NY School, I am, on the one hand, reminded of the Great Works of Art looking ironically over my shoulder; and on the other hand I think that choosing a stance of informality, ephemerality, can, in a strange way, pre-program the poetry : whereas I think the effort of poets should be to escape any kind short-circuiting offered by style idioms. If I'm being unfair here, it's not directed at the genuine poetry (New York is essentially a great poem), but at the notion of poetry as bohemian club life.
If I think of the "serious-critical social attitude" of the avant-garde, I am sceptical again. My experience or encounter with poetry over the last 30 years seems rooted in a concept of poetic language which is in dialectical opposition not simply with "prose" but with the mechanistic, disenchanted worldview for which poetry is the perennial alternative. But this notion of poetic language is predicated on a somewhat idealistic/Platonic notion of the relation between mind & reality : playful & tricksterish in its own way, and obdurately opposed to political formations which masquerade as aesthetic activity. (This is not to say that poetry cannot speak to politics. Far from it. But first it must be poetry.)
[p.s. please not to misunderstand. I'm not against parties & having fun, even though I'm basically a bookish homebody. I play harmonica, guitar, keyboards. The little jug band I'm in has a party gig tonight. I'm just against confusing poetry with socializing. I respect & admire the improvisational performance-oriented fun & funny poetry emanating from NY School & elsewhere; it's just that my own area of interest, I guess, hovers around certain visionary capacities of writing. The visionary (as I understand it) is also devalued or dismissed by the sophisticated obscurantism of various strands of postmodernism.]