Saturday, March 15, 2003

In response to John Erhardt, aka The Skeptic, I wrote a long post arguing that the School of Quietude exists and poses a continuing threat, and how unwilling I am to cede the high ground of prominence to those who make cavalier claims of their importance in non-specialist media outlets like The New York Times, where they are believed by Joe Reader and my grandfather Howard alike. But I became so bored with my own argument that I started to think maybe he was right, that the SoQ simply isn't worthy my energy and attention. And yet they keep being brought to my attention because theirs is still the kind of poetry dominant in academia, by which I mean theirs is what educated nonspecialists are most likely to think of as "contemporary poetry." As an academic who will probably be teaching in a creative writing program someday I can't afford to ignore them or their continuing and pernicious influence on the young people who pass through their clutches. Perhaps I've sidelined myself from the most interesting and important battles within post-Langpo by committing myself to a teaching life. But I'm not yet willing to concede the mainstream—I want as much cultural pie as I can grab for myself and those whose work I find compelling and relevant to our lives now.

All small potatoes on the brink of war. More marching is going on today without me, but tomorrow I plan to participate in the worldwide candlelight vigil. If by chance you haven't heard about this you can read all about it here.

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