Thursday, May 25, 2006
more Bay Poetics. certainly this anthology displays editorial acumen. Stephanie Young speaks of her selections as snapshots. as I said, you probably won't feel you grok the nature of anyone's work here from what is presented. surely your taste bud will be tickled, inciting you to see more, but I think that aspect is secondary to another, perhaps larger, aspect. Bay Poetics, wtf. okay, it's a region anchored by a couple of cities and lots of schools. more powerfully, it is a scene. I know that's a drastically icky word in most cases. in Boston, it sure means exclusion, not even hip exclusion. elsewhere it means righteous hipster. I infer, being no witness, that the Bay Area that Young sees differs from that twaddle. she's suggesting a community of writers, even a collaboration. there's no discernible Bay Area school here, just a good environment for poetry. I return to what Joseph Torra pointed out on saturday at the Olson event, that no local tenured professors attended. none could detach themselves from their Harvardy strictures, the ominous academic condition. or conditioning, I should say, the conditioning of canon. Harvard's just happy to have Dickinson as a cash cow. Eliot's still edgy here and, like, his early stuff is now public domain. so what I see in BP is a community sense, a place of poetry. both Garrett Caples and Andrew Joron have essays (essays!) that mention George Stevens, a Bay area decadent poet. Young placed the pieces contiguously, perhaps to suggest interrelationship (community), and perhaps to indicate some defining energy of the area. I don't mean to sound utopian, but I think some effort has been made Out There to make a living place for poetry. there is breath out there. here we have claustrophobic Groliers Bookshop, and Harvard looming over all.