Wouldn’t it take an outsider to aptly critique the American scene, the American people, the American culture? Hugh Kenner, a Canadian, did this at the end of a section devoted to Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams in his book A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers. A book dedicated to Guy Davenport. A book on Donald Barthelme’s syllabus.
I was recently asked to write a poetics statement for an anthology in which my work is being published. In an effort to promote discussion (and for a more timely response to Marjorie Perloff’s “Poetry on the Brink: Reinventing the Lyric” (Boston Review, May/June 2012), I decided to seek out a literary blog with which to share this piece. What follows is a modified excerpt from my statement.