I’ve just published an article entitled “Poetry, Politics, and Power” in the “Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies,” in the UK. My thesis is that the Socialist Government of Spain in the 1980s promoted a school of poetry that mirrored its own mediocre yet grandiose cultural ambitions. The so-called “poesía de la experiencia” is a banal “realist” poetry of everyday life, not dissimilar to U.S. poetry-workshop poetry. (I use Charles Bernstein’s handy catch-phrase “official verse culture.”) I’ve written two or three articles now attacking this particular group of poets. I am both loved and hated in Spain.
What makes this article “cultural studies” is that I do not quote a line of verse.
Criticism in my academic field (contemporary Spanish poetry) is deadly. It is a specialization-within-a-specialization, and rarely attracts first-rate minds. To find a more stimulating group of people to talk to, I would have to go into cultural studies; yet such people usually have very little interest in “poetics.” Scholars in my field still tend to see the poem as a decontextualized “text” to be picked apart on the page. Those with a broader knowledge of contemporary Spanish culture, on the other hand, don’t see poetry as relevant in the least.