Monday, June 18, 2007

No Berg

I was supposed to spend the day at the Berg, but alas, it's closed! In the meanwhile, I have located Eigner's archive. Luckily, it's close, Storrs CT, and I may be able to go later in the summer.

Eigner's work explifies the opposite of what I was critizing in the so-tendy poetics of identity. Eigner never, to my knowledge, wrote narrative poems about his disability. Writing such poems may have drawn a different group of readers in, and perhaps, had him published in the New Yorker. Eigner decided, rather, to stay true to his "voice." And yet, his disability is all over the poems, he doesn't need to tell it. Eigner's decision to take the path on an innovator, I am sure, endeared him to the aformentioned poets. One wonders, did he consider the fact that his immense talent could have been used as a method to pull him into the mainstream?

Reading Olson and Eigner has made me realize something; there was language poetry BEFORE language poetry. I know the "big" girls and guys attest to this; Silliman dedicated "In the America Tree" to Eigner. But, I think, as history gets further away from the post-war era, this recognition gets too watered down. Young poets are fixed on the concept of what they call "experimental." I have heard, from here and there, that the words lyrical and narrative are ugly dirty words. This is all and fine. But, I think "experimental poets" writing now have to realize that they are perhaps a fifth generation; after Stein/Pound, Olson/Eigner, The Language Poets, Claudia Rankine, Harriet Mullin and poets slightly younger than the LP, and finally poets currently in their twenties and thirties. I, myself, was always missing the Olson link.

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