Sunday, January 04, 2009

Silliman, Seth and the SOQ/Post Avant

Seth Abramson has been railing, here and here, most eloquently if wordily, against Ron Silliman's SoQ/Post Avant binary, which Silliman persists, nilly-willy, to promulgate. Oh how familiar to my ears. Here's my comment (slightly amended) which I left on Seth's most recent post, and which, believe it or not, I put some effort into writing.

Ron Silliman's opposition of SoQ and Post-Avant is patently reductionist and polarized. The likes of Henry Gould and I were pointing this out back in 2005. As I said in that post, where does Poe, who first coined the term SoQ, fit in? Yet Silliman is a juggernaut. I reckon he'll keep on railing against that SoQ strawman regardless of this or any other discussion: he lent us a profoundly deaf ear in the past. For that reason, I only visit Silliman occasionally now. Silliman shares a vast awareness of the *sociology* of poetry, particularly the poetry he is interested in, which for the most part, doesn't do a lot for me. I also appreciate his links lists and astute political observations. But -- he has his axe to grind, and he definitely has something to gain by the likes of you lashing out so verbosely against it. I find it interesting that here at least he links to you, creating (I hope, at long last, he proves me wrong) the disingenuous impression of being "open minded".

1 comment:

Andrew Shields said...

As I noted in a comment on one of Seth's recent posts, I keep coming back to the background story about Poe: he used the term "quietude" in response to an editor who rejected "The Tell-Tale Heart" by asking for something a little quieter!

Sometimes I do actually want to point out to Silliman that he is constructing his terminology on the basis of a complaint about having a story rejected.