Thursday, July 17, 2008

cold-war politics of poetic form

Charles Bernstein's review of my new book appears in the current issue of The Boston Review. Here's a link. And here's a paragraph from the middle of the essay:

One thing the anticommunist antimodernists had right was that the poetic form of radical modernism was political; Filreis calls this the “cold war politics of poetic form.” A 1953 article by Donald Davidson targets parataxis in poetry—the juxtaposition of two images or units of sense that lack any immediately apparent connection—for its “treacherous political irresponsibility in the act of eschewing relations of cause and effect while the related elements [are] left to stand in unordered, unsubordinated lists.” Just a few years earlier, Robert Hillyer, in the widely circulated Saturday Review of Literature, assailed modernism in poetry as an “illusion of independent thought” and a “propaganda” machine of “the powers of darkness.” Writing in the Bulletin of the Poetry Society of America, Hillyer accused modernists of “a cold conformity of intellectualism” that eliminated “diversity” and insisted on “a critical censorship, in its effects like that of the Kremlin.”