Ron Silliman continues to get a lot of discursive mileage out of the term "School of Quietude" and the general concepts which impel same. Sometimes the topic has to do with style, and sometimes with the marketing/access/reception of poets & poetry.

It occurred to me as I strolled to the coffee shop this morning, trying to perk myself out of the poetry/blog doldrums, that the conceptual architecture which grounds this notion is not really about either aesthetics or literary influence. It's about politics.

The idea of a New American poetry as distinct from a mainstream American poetry - of an embattled, experimental, avant-garde poetry rising in opposition to a staid, conservative, middle-brow poetry - what I think this really represents is the assertion of an idiom which speaks for & about particular levels of society, or communities within larger society. It's the proposition that there exists a tribe (or tribes) of poets who are peculiarly authorized - through their manner of speech, or their bohemian lifestyle, or their ethnic background, etc. - to speak authentically about certain realities of American life, realities which (supposedly) are ignored or smoothed-over or denied by mainstream poets.

I think this ideological predisposition or framework tends, along with a lot of other & related attitudes (displayed by many poets), to inhibit the desire for, the creation of, or the recognition of, forms of poetic making (thought, language, address) which are not pre-programmed or channeled toward particular audiences.

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