December 06, 2006

I've been in Normal. Very cold although beautiful cover of ice over everything. I have had only limited email ability, so couldn't deal with this before. But feel I need to point to Barrett Watten's response.

So much in this, but quickly feel I need to answer these questions:

"Is this a practice now undertaken in terms of other works of poetry or poetics? Does Spahr pick up a volume of Robert Creeley or Marjorie Perloff or Alice Notley or Jerome McGann and ask, How many black people, in what circumstances, does it represent? What is it about an 'experiment in collective autobiography' that led to such a response?"

And probably need to confess that the answer to the first two is yes. I do tend to notice how identity shows up in various works. But not in the name of counting or because there is a "right" amount. And I don't have a knee jerk reaction that a book is flawed because it only represents one identity. I'm more interested in it because identity is one of the big defining discussions in last half of twentieth century literature. So I'm interested in how this discussion gets taken up or not in many books and by many different authors. And I think it is something that gets taken up in works by Robert Creeley or Marjorie Perloff or Alice Notley or Jerome McGann, although in different ways all the time, and sometimes directly and sometimes not. And I'm interested in those ways. And I confess, I am especially interested in it in the GP because it is a collective autobiography by a group of writers who are writing at the same time that this identity discussion begins to happen, so how the colletive engages with overlaps and differences in its own identity seems interesting to me.

I don't think of this discussion as a critique or a complaint, but just as that, as discussion.

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