24 sept. 2007

I became a specialist in Spanish literature because of "deep image" poetry. Not directly, because it was never my favorite kind of poetry exactly in English, but because of the general climate of interest in Latin American and Spanish poetry during the late 70s, a formative time for me. The Nobel prize went to Vicente Aleixandre in 1977. I wanted to read the stuff in the original, go back to the sources. You know how snobbish I can be, but I was even worse back then.

Now reading Greg Kuzma and the like, I see no connection to Spanish-language poetry at all. The Spanish roots of contemporary American poetry are very shallow, generally speaking and with significant exceptions.

I single out Kuzma because to me, in my memory at least, he is Generic Deep Image Guy of the 70s.

Logically, the Spanish department should be full of me, full of people brought into the field by the ubiquity of Neruda during the 70s. I'm sure there are others, but that's not the typical person in the field in my experience. When I realize this then I know how to make certain adjustments in dealing with people. For example there is Latin American Leftist without a strong interest in literature in the first place. He came into the field for largely political reasons. There the person who majored in Spanish and just kept going, eventually developing an interest in literature, but an interest largely confined to what was taught in the curriculum.