October 07, 2004

Trying to get caught up on the poetry books in my office.

Today read Joseph Lease's article "Progressive Lit.: Amiri Baraka, Bruce Andrews, and the Politics of the Lyric I." At times I felt like it doesn't give Andrews enough credit for having any sort of nuanced approach. Although I have to admit that at moments I can't tell how much nuance I myself should give some of the writing done by Andrews, Watten, etc., on the I. I wish one of them would write a sort of retrospective on the I at some point. I am confused sometimes about whether they still think it is the same problem. And I am always wondering why the I is under attack and not the narcissism which we all know by now can still be a big part of I-avoidance poetry. Or, in other words, sometimes the things that got said about the I in the 70s seems absurd at the turn of the century. So many new narcissisms (and what about Baraka in this regard?). Several points of Lease's article are crucial. Such as how often a community poetics, Baraka being but one example, falls out of institutional sight lines. And I agree that the communities that poems create need more attention than the communities they avoid.

Then enjoyed Gordon Hadfield's and Sasha Steensen's correspondence a great deal. Interesting on the tourism/documentation issue. The book is about traveling through south America. Sprawling geography and words. They tend to use a "we."

Kim Rosenfield's Trama. Heard her read from this last year. Really strong new work from her. Very tight. Hard hitting. Obvious. All good things in poetry right now I think. I'd line it up with Stacy Doris's work in its combination of beautiful and darkness.

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