File spoon-archives/phillitcrit.archive/phillitcrit_1998/phillitcrit.9803, message 24

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 12:27:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: PLC: [H-BLOOM] Western Canon University

At 08:58 AM 3/13/98 -0700, you wrote:
>About "conservative poetry," you write:
>>Yes. Modern and contemporary culture is big and complex, and there's no one
>>specific off-the-shelf ideology, left or right, that contains all of it. See
>>new formalism, new narrative, etc. Dana Gioia, etc.
>This sounds very interesting.  But the appeal of the Jolly Roger crowd
>isn't to bigness and complexity, its to getting things right (again).

What I wrote above was that the culture in toto is big and complex, not that
conservative poetry (or anything else) was interested in maximizing
awareness of complexity -- though, since you mention it, you can find
writers "left" and "right" of center, and in between, who think of
themselves as trying to increase the awareness of complexity through their
rejection of others' ideologies (ideologies are always, after all, reductive
to some extent).

>The problem voiced in the material Reg cited -- and this was the case
>also when they were runnning around spamming lists like this one a
>couple of years back

How much did what they were selling cost? Is any email one disagrees with a

> -- is the apparent contradiction between wanting a
>return to a universalized poetry (which is why ethnicity and gender have
>to go) and the up-front admission of the non-universality of their own
>conservative project.  I guess the real question is who's universe it is
>in the first place.

Yes, whose? I guess everyone's partially and no-one's wholly?

If only I'd made sure to "root" correctly in answering Reg's query, I
wouldn't have to write this follow-up! Yes, it's always easiest to be a
member of a clear "side," whose members talk only to each other.

Greg Downing/NYU, at or

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