Reginald Shepherd's blown a gasket, but don't dare call him on it, because it will just depress him. From the email extant
on Josh's blog:
"But then, in general it seems difficult these days to make a nuanced argument--people see things only in black and white, and insist on reducing one's arguments to simplistic parody."
"There is nothing in the so-called avant-garde, from the New Americans to the Language poets to whatever the contemporary crew wants to call themselves besides 'too good for everyone else,' that wasn't done by the Modernists."
"there is a lot wrong with pretending that one came up with these techniques and approaches oneself, especially when one then goes on to congratulate oneself for one's daring and perspicacity."
"And why, for that matter must interesting, challenging, difficult poetry be labeled or accountable as 'avant-garde' in order really to be taken seriously?"
Alrightey. Rather than actually engage with a dialogue, pout. Then deny the conceivability that one may gain pleasure from anything from the New Americans to the present day in terms of experimental lexicons. Then
, create an rather idiosyncratic, largely unsupportable cosmology regarding Modernism, and pre-empt anyone actually calling you on it by asking:"Why can't poetry be allowed to be and do what it is and does?" Got it.
The funny thing is, I really don't think Mr. Shepherd addressed much of what Tim
had to say at all, and when he did, he pretty much did it with the old "slander by accusing slander" fashion. How is Tim saying:
"the binaries of text/context and form/content don’t line up cleanly either with each other or with the binary of avant-garde/mainstream"
an example of Tim being, according to Reginald, "particularly determined to willfully distort everything [he] wrote"?
Perhaps most tellingly, Tim wrote, in regards to Reginald's earlier comments, that "these aesthetic positions must recognize themselves as positions
, not as the absence of any position or as some idea of pure critical neutrality that welcomes any 'great' work, whatever its kind."
Yet this is precisely the gaping absence in pretty much everything that Mr. Shepherd wrote. Most of what we had to contemplate from him was the expression of tactical gambits. "Peace and poetry" indeed.