I suppose I was being foolish (again), over at Reginald Shepherd's Harriet post announcing his new anthology (Lyric Postmodernisms). Maybe even rude, to intrude on his publication announcement. The discussion (for me) was leaching over from other posts - one by Shepherd on the term "post-avant", another by Christian Bok on contemporary experiment (in response to Shepherd). Actually it was Bok's (re)formulation of some discussion by Shepherd & Paul Hoover - in which Bok summarizes Hoover's idea of a compromise, in current poetry, between postmodern experiment & tradition - that I was criticizing. Shepherd's new anthology seems (from its title & brief descriptions) to represent or illustrate some such compromise. (Bok himself suggests the limitations of such an idea - this compromise - & proposes something else, along the lines of multifarious simultaneous experiment - the "pan-avant".)

Anyway, I was being silly & provocative, using Shepherd's post the way I did. But I get irascible when I hear the term "postmodernism" too often.

& I was registering a protest of my own against this notion that today's cutting-edge & influential poets have found a way to blend postmodern concepts of language & subjectivity etc., with more traditional modes of lyric poetry.

Because actually I think the real new & radical step right now would be a rejection of the recent compositional & stylistic formulae - those which fixate on
20th-cent. notions of language, on language per se as the sole formal, structural material of poetry. I'm saying we go back to the Cranes : R.S. Crane's (& the Chicago School's) Aristotelian concepts of poetic form; Hart Crane's sense of the poem as a mute or silent gesture toward the unsayable.

But I've already explained all this. & the attack dogs are lurking. & the machinery of professional poetry prestige (in which, for the time being, I am not a player) must roll on.

It was gauche of me to add all this to the comment thread at Shepherd's publication announcement. & I owe it to him to actually read the new anthology, which I will do.

& yet I have to be silly, stupid & out-of-sync sometimes; that's part of this loser's game I'm playing.

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