...the unexamined prejudices that undergird our expectations of art and literature...
I’m always intrigued by the unexamined prejudices that undergird our expectations of art and literature: deep down, what we want is poems that do X, paintings that do Y—but we won’t say so, in public or even in private; we don’t want to view our aesthetics as intentionally reductive. This is part of what contributes to the problem of a magazine like The New Yorker (etc.) claiming it speaks for Poetry, or for The Best Poetry—it’s not, I think, so much a conscious matter of considering and dismissing more innovative poetry; it’s not wanting to even think about more innovative poetry—not wanting to even imagine it exists—because if we allowed that, then we might have to think a little more about how and why we’re making choices (in this case, about what other people should read). The veneer of authority or universality makes up for having to pay attention, to read or think.
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The above is part of an email I received today. Responses?