Tuesday, July 11, 2006

If Jed Rasula is right to think of "poetry as ecology in the community of words," then the patch-corridor-matrix model of landscape ecology might be most useful not in describing individual poems, but as a non-hierarchical representation of, say, the mosaic of American poetry. So we have numerous aesthetic patches, sometimes with regional inflections, and innumerable corridors that serve as connectors (between the DC and the San Francisco scenes, maybe, or between Language poetry and the New York School) but also as barriers, and perhaps most interestingly, as habitat—aesthetic territory in its most minimal and attenuated sense. The matrix, then, would be addressed by questions like "What's American About American poetry?"—what is shared, if anything, besides geographical and historical circumstances, by these patches—what makes them a mosaic?

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