Sunday, January 09, 2005

Writing a little essay for the new (well, new to me) "Poetry Debates, Manifestos, & Criticism" feature over at The Academy of American Poets on Richard Hugo as an experimental poet. Intrigued? I'll provide a link when it's finished and up; in the meantime, the other pieces are worth checking out (but I can't seem to provide a direct link to them). And I might as well mention now that I'm going to be taking part in the next New American Poets Festival in NYC this March, sponsored by the Poetry Society of America. I feel some ambivalence about this warm embrace from the poetry establishment; it makes me ask the question, Huckabees-style, "How am I not myself?" I hope I am still very much myself and that I've compromised nothing to achieve this level of recognition—at least compared with the compromises that seem to be required to write something genuinely marketable. Certainly I write for no one's approval in any immediate sense, though approval after the fact (if you understand me) is a welcome confirmation that I have in fact written something that bears some relation to truth. Mine has been a fortunate life, in that I've been permitted to have faith that whatever comes from inside will be in some way answered by the outside—since there's no real difference between them. This is a kind of spiritual mode that I believe to be compatible with my basic philosophical materialism—as I have been interpolated by my culture so do I speak from, for, and to that culture, with the crucial extra unconscious twist of some res privata (can't vouch for the grammar of that) that manifests the swerve of the new. I am a participant; I take root in my time; I am responsible.

Making final changes to the galleys or whatever of Fourier Series: evicting all mention of "and." The quasi-mathematical sign of the ampersand seems truer to the conjunctions I'm attempting between Fourier & John Wayne, Paris & Reno, the horizontal & the vertical, Lewis & Clark.

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