20 oct. 2003

Interview with Kent Johnson conducted by Rodrigo Garcia Lopes, Editor, Coyote Magazine, Brazil: "Increasingly, that is, Language poetry and 'avant-garde' styles growing directly out of it (under myriad denominations, like 'post-language,' 'abstract lyric,' 'ellipticism,' 'new synthesis,' 'third generation New York school,' and so on) have come to be the zeitgeist at virtually all the elite and many of the second-tier creative writing programs-few serious younger poets with any degree of reading have an interest in writing the scenic, first-person lyric of narrative experience. What's happened is that most younger poets now want to write the fractured lyric of intellectual, self-reflexive experience, or else some theory-inflected version of the cool, campy Frank O'Hara-like poem, or some hybrid version of these styles. This 'experimental' atmosphere constitutes the ascendant period style --the poems of our climate, as one of our famous poets once put it-- and very few literary journals or presses of consequence today are truly hostile toward this fashionable 'innovative' work."

I wish this were true. I suspect it has some element of truth to it. I suppose that would depend on one's definition of phrases like "all the elite," "serious young poets with any degree of reading," "very few," "of consequence," and "truly hostile." There's a lot of wiggle room there.

I haven't seen work that answers to this description in Poetry or The New Yorker . You can't buy a book by Clark Coolidge at Border's. The New York Review of Books has never reviewed a book by Marjorie Perloff or Charles Bernstein, let alone Ron Silliman.

I'm sure there is a Frank O'Hara cum Language lite style out there: I saw some it in both of the BAPS in fact.

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