This is one of my favorite phrases. Who coined it? Ron Silliman? Marjorie Perloff? Anyway, I trust s/he had tongue at least partially in cheek. But I think both would agree that some versions of the "Old" avant-garde are still alive, if not well. Which I guess is not avant or arriere, but more like being a subculture, like the Rainbow Nation or Society for Creative Anachronism. Which is fine with me, as long as you don't really think it's 1967 or 1215.
Three addenda to the list in the previous post:
- self-image as intellectually/ethically superior (if not salvific) remnant community (read: classing off)
- heroically nihilistic irony; deadly serious levity
- you gotta have the right clothes.
Of course, this is the worst of the self-conscious worst. There are some young'uns doing unconventional work with a self-deprecating humor about it. Or who don't worry about being original or unique when they write or paint (I can't help but like Brenda Coultas). But, paradoxically, it does seem as though being avant is "in" - that is, it is indeed becoming institutionalized, which is what always happens. It's not a matter simply of the "poets of quietude" defecting (or passing), but of younger poets choosing to specialize as Experimentalist.
Then there is the inevitable populist backlash; if you don't believe me, come to Kansas. [for an account of the previous cycle, in the early part of the last century, see Poetry and the Public]
BTW, it's "soi-disant," Joe, NOT "soi-dit" (tho personally, I like that version better).
And, yes, the implication is indeed that I am a capitalist running-dog. Anyone who owns their own home (read: mortgage), and is not about to be foreclosed upon, is now officially a capitalist running-dog - at least until the economy starts looking up.
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