Perspectives on American poetry post-1975

Journal review
Boundary 2, Fall 2009 (vol 36 No 3), 250 pp.
Online ISSN: 1527-2141 Print ISSN: 0190-3659.
Special issue: American Poetry after 1975.
Ed. Charles Bernstein

Bernstein gathers work from a set of literary scholars who are redefining the field, focusing mostly on those who have published their first book in the last decade. He has also included a few older hands along with a few poems. His focus here is on new directions. While many of the essays are traditional in form, Bernstein encouraged all the participants to move beyond the constraints of professional writing if necessary.

In this issue Jennifer Scappettone writes on ambience and “junk space” (“Versus Seamlessness: Architectonics of pseudocomplicity in Tan Lin’s ambient poetics”). Christian Bok provides a typology of intention (“Two dots over a vowel”); Lytle Shaw extends the poetics of place into “field” work and site specificity (“Docents of Discourse: The logic of dispersed sites”); and Craig Dworkin, curator of the online archive Eclipse, addresses radical poetry and the digital archive (“Hypermnesia”).

Marjorie Perloff illuminates Susan Howe’s The Midnight (“The Rattle of Statistical Traffic”); Jonathan Skinner writes on ecopoetics (“Poetry Animal”); and Joyelle McSweeney takes on the poetics of disability (“Disabled Texts and the Threat of Hannah Weiner”).

Al Filreis surveys Wallace Stevens’s post- ’75 shadows; (“The Stevens Wars”); Jim Rosenberg assesses digital spaces (“Bios/ the logosphere/ the finite-made evolver space”); and Elizabeth Willis addresses the sociality of the lyric as a means to encounter her own generation’s poetics practices (“Lyric Dissent”).

Brian Reed also takes on his generation’s poetics (“Grammar Trouble”), considering trends and resistance to innovative poetry practice, with special reference to Craig Dworkin; Herman Rapaport takes on the aesthetics of sentimental poetry and sweet nothings (“A liquid hand blossoms”); and Tracie Morris writes on hip-hop and J.L. Austin, with special reference to Rakim’s performativity.

Juliana Spahr offer an essay on multilingual poetry (“The ‘90s”); and Tan Lin provides a “Soft Index (of repeating places, people, and works”).

The issue includes short poems by Peter Gizzi, Kenneth Goldsmith, Nada Gordon, and Benjamin Friedlander.


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