Follow-up to yesterday's post : Silliman's historicism is always framed to promote the idea of an oppositional community - the New Americans, the post-avants, etc. Ironically similar to Ignatow's presentation, in that interview, of himself as coming out of an embattled real American/WC Williams school, which only recently (the '70s) had come into its own, as the authentic American mainstream.

My view of all this remains the same as ever. It's poetry itself, not the poetry community, which is the diverse/unified vibrant entity.

As long as poets and critics continue to deflect criticism along the path of social branding/collectivity exercises, the real issues - of style, form, rhetorical address, aesthetic values, themes, influence - will be obscured.

People would rather politicize the art - turn it into a tribal checkers game of who's where and who's who - than think and evaluate poems and poets independently - empirically - as part of the unified field called "poetry".

Another irony in this situation is this : as long as poets and critics characterize themselves first and foremost as members of some literary subculture or other, they will continue to fall short of the social and political directness and emotional/logical force which poetry always has the potential for showing. And does show, in individual poets and poems - phenomena which always seem to jar somewhat paradoxically with the theories of social branding which are supposed to contain them.

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