Saturday, November 24, 2007

he's plainly & simply thankful for friends

In a Thanksgiving-inspired blog entry, Ron Silliman gives thanks for the close friends who poetically came of age with him in the Bay area and who are now collaborating on a multi-authored, multi-volume collective autobiography, The Grand Piano. Just now I read Mark Scroggins' "Culture Industry" entry on the GP. He quotes Joe Strummer offering via lyrics a "pretty unanswerable summary of the institutional absorption of the subversive margins" and that is his topic, although on balance he is a critic of those who criticize the GP authors on these grounds. He reminds us that "[i]t’s of course an old move to point to how many prominent Language Poets...have moved into the academy." He says we must allow a measure of narcissism in the project.

And how could one not, since it's the nature of autobiography that about the person or people whose lives and work it's about. I suppose one standard for evaluating its success is the extent to which reading it makes one think about that apparently generic aboutness. On this score, I would say that it succeeds quite well.

But back to narcissism. What surprised Scroggins is "how little space was given over to assertions of the innovativeness, the subversiveness, the sheer importance of Language writing" (in at least the first volume of the work).

I am fascinated by the response to GP and suggest a few links:

[] James Sherry's review
[] Barry Watten on how GP is being written
[] Andy Gricevich's blogged response to volume 4
[] the main GP site