09 February 2008

In the name of Poetry

Reginald Shepherd’s dossier on the post-avant says that "the avant-garde isn’t ahead of the guard anymore," whatever that means, noting the preferable state of “passing through the avant-garde.” As people grapple with the significance of AWP this fortnight, I am struck that this vision of “the Third Way” would seem to be more advanced than 99% of the writing programs in the country. The Third Way is the first way without the baggage. The source of the expression, the political sphere, is not a dialectical synthesis as it is an attempt to circumvent such a synthesis by enabling the first way to resist the second by corrupting its institutions and legacy, enabling Britain's entry into the Iraq War, and its aesthetic application remains true to form.

I’m pleased that this point I made last November has been stated again by Josh Clover and Josh Corey, and I’m told that Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett is preparing a statement. I just need to remind readers that this Spring I’ll be kicking off the promotional campaign for my hair care line Poesy by Ian (TM), featuring Third Way (TM) shampoo, conditioner and mousse with the tag line "the Third Way is the First Way" (TM).

7 comments:

Ian Keenan said...
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Ian Keenan said...
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Ian Keenan said...

I hadn't read that Hoover post when I was joking about contradicting Chicago editors.

http://poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2008/02/opening_the_window_to_get_some_fresh_air.html#more

that's sort of like what I was saying only different and with more background. If I contradicted it ahead of time it doesn't count.

Ian Keenan said...

+ he's not a Chicago editor any more

Daniel P said...

I was surprised when I first saw the term 'avant-garde' being used (without irony) as a contemporary descriptive term. To me (and to many I know), 'avant-garde' represents a very specific aesthetic relationship to a dominant literary tradition that no longer exists as it did then, although the aesthetics created from both diametrics of that relationship do persist. The belief that such a relationship is still possible is naive in many ways. I think that is the idea Shepherd was trying to express.

Ian Keenan said...

"Daniel P", When did you first hear that term?

If all the people - who either denied the concept of the avant-garde or contended that the professional Zeitgeist of the moment had subsumed it - instead championed the term and used it to describe themselves, the resulting banalization would be more harmful than the dominant culture’s contempt, but not so harmful as to overcome the geniuses who have given the avant-garde its life against considerable odds and opposition.

Ian Keenan said...

Lest anyone think my Feb 9 Third Way statement is copycatting Clover's Feb 7 statement "the "third way" the first way with a new public relations pitch," which I wasn't reacting to not having read at the time, on that post-avant Harriet thread they can refer to my November 24 2007 post. I must say that Clover's doing a bang-up job in there.