Some thoughtful pre-AWP handwringing from Paul Hoover on the insiding of the "outside" of U.S. poetry. Old story, but salutary reminder of how quickly it's happened, how alienated an experimentalist—even on the barnside-broad definition of approval for the Beats, Black Mountain, and New York School—could feel as recently as AWP 2001.
I've seen vinyl, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs, and mp3s all in one short lifetime: now I'm facing the prospect of explaining to my son what "albums" were, as a form. It's not the changes themselves, but the speed of them—the pace at which they accumulate nostalgia—that starts to seem significant. We're deposited into the future before it can really be imagined as future, which sort of bends the avant-garde back on its past: 1910, 1968, AWPs of the Eighties. Memory takes on the remoteness of history, history becomes archaeology, and the future, as a category, becomes a subsidiary of the now. What's the new way of writing (and reading) that responds to that?
21 hours ago