Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back in Denver. Tonight I will watch "Big Bang Theory" then walk and hopefully write afterwards. My days are once again moving slowly, so I will work on the editing comments I am waiting to receive in the mail this time. Lots of good stuff happening.

I am a bit nervous as my Social Security Hearing is coming up on June 20th. This time I have the date right. Very worried as a Vocational Rehabilitation Expert will be there from the big government. In any case, all I can do is hope for the best. My attorney will appeal if I'm denied. Let go of the worry I say. Peace at last has found me.

I am going to try to play around with words tonight, no agenda beyond letting the subconscious out to play. I love to play. After this I will work on revising, which is a form of play in itself.

Denver, Colorado is beautiful. I am thankful to live here! The fox is running the street at night, the squirrels are out too, the wood pecker and robins are catching worms in the freshly cut grass. I confess, I am enamored by the natural world. I like a good story still too.

I've been reading AMERICAN HYBRID and thinking heavily about form, substance, abstraction and fragmentation. My work, according to a mentor is full of fragments. Sometimes I grow weary of this division in American Poetry, which this anthology says doesn't exist, but it does when you send work out to a press and they, one reader, complains that they are tired of Chicano/a lit doing the same old thing, working the same narratives etc It grows tiring. This person at that particular press clearly didn't read my manuscript very carefully. I suspect a self-appointed avant-garde calling everybody not in their circle "mainstream." This is not to say I don't admire some of the work immensely, but it is indeed a  matter of "labeling." And labels are dangerous; they cause divisions. The create disharmony. They make people feel insulted. And nobody can make me feel insulted unless I let them. So I advocate for the work I am doing. I feel it is worthy. I am worthy. I must if only here, in the margins, speak.

In the end, I find this "New" American poetry a bit pompous at times, its advocates assume too much about "others" as well. They feel often ostracized and separated, but they too have chosen to call a certain brand of work, which is heavily in academia, as superior. It is in some ways highly intellectual which is a good thing, and many lines are simply stunning and fascinating to read, yet when I read an essay in the BOSTON REVIEW by Marjorie Perloff which lumps minorities into one pot, I feel a bit disillusioned. Her idea of this pot is that is loosely narrative with no attention to linguistic play, no attention to what's new in terms of science, anthropology, politics and so forth.  I want to stand up for the work of Latino/as and its immense diversity.

I also criticize this division in Latino/a poetry, where self-appointed avant-garde people continuously complain about other Chicano/as. There's a place for all of our work, and grouping those who "say" they are a particular label is also dangerous. I want to believe history will define what is "new" and history will separate the wheat from the chaff. Perhaps I am reading Perloff incorrectly, but I think she is sadly misinformed and hyper judgmental about the work Latino/as in particular are doing. I also think this is true of some Latinos out there. Fact is we are ALL for the most part engaged in the Post-Modern, and to simply dismiss people in large numbers isn't cool. I think many divisions that exist are also related to working-class poetries and poetries that are indeed separated by economic and geographical marginalization.

The Post-Modern moves beyond fragmentation and labeling. It is bigger than that. If anything we are all Post-Modern in our sensibilities, our true marginalization in American Poetries. There are simply too many people writing to create such divisions. And yes, I read the introduction to AMERICAN HYBRID, but the atmosphere and divisions among various readers seems pretty clear-cut to me. To assume anyone with any narrative line to a story is incapable of being experimental seems problematic. To say blanket statements like narrative is dead, experience is irrelevant, metaphor is problematic all seem too easy. Eliot said something about respecting the canon and tilting it slightly ajar. I think this is an interesting statement. Must one throw out the baby with the bathwater?

Well, my past trauma, which was severe leads me to question myself, my opinions far too much, even be hesitant to state them. My second collection addresses a lot of this. The personal or descriptive need not be non-experimental, a collection of poems need not be "either/or".  Black and white thinking is dangerous. And yes, I think there is this division in American Poetry largely from the Perloff essay and the comments on my manuscript from a reader and comments I've read. I guess I'm saying that I believe my work is also Post-Modern despite comments that it isn't.

In any case, I just wrote this and my thoughts are always subject to change. I always place this buffer as I am one individual, and yes, the idea of a single individual is being dissected and done away with, but when one experiences severe trauma, one is less likely to state that the individual is not important. Suffering is universal? In any case, I need not dwell on my feelings of marginalization. This is possibly the crux of these thoughts and feelings. In any case, back to reading AMERICAN HYBRID. Then I will watch BIG BANG THEORY, walk and write.

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