Postmodern Collage Poetry

A blog about writing collage poetry, post modern poetry, multi lingual poetry

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The Next Great Poetic Movement

David Lehman asserts that the last avant garde was the New York School in the 1950's and 60's. Poets in other traditions would assert that the last Avant Garde was Language Poetry of the late 70's and 80's. What is clear is that the idea of an Avant Garde exists but it is less well formed and that competing Avant Gardes are less than available. While in the 1950-60 period the Beats, New York School and Post Black Mountain poets and SF Rennaissance poets would compete for reading space, and journal space and a profound dialogue abou the nature of poetry existed today it seems that Avant Garde poetry is looking for true north.

I think one of the issues is the fact that people do not wish to offend. Can you imagine someone at a poetry reading today doing to Lisa Jarnot what Frank O'Hara did to Jack Kerouac, that is challenge her in public? No it seems that today we are more timid and less open to challenging what is being done. This timidness might be because poetry is so marginalized.

I have spent allot of time with Peter Gizzi's new work and it is stunning. But as a person who finds succor in the Pound-Olson-Language tradition that is easy. Then you look at a poet like Jarnot who is inspiring in her depth and breadth but who is also in many ways Talmudic in her work, that is like the Cantos you need a concordance to get through part of the work. But once you have worked for it the poetry opens up and lets you in.

In the end the issue is what is avant garde? Brian Clements has started a new magazine Sentance and it is based in Prose Poetry which is a form I embrace but is it avant garde? Or is the avant garde dead?