Tuesday, April 26, 2005

North Of

Ron Silliman's (kind) post about awards and marginalization got me thinking about nationality, which got me thinking about nationalism, which sent me back to Jeff Derksen's essay on Steve McCaffery's North of Intention:
On the basis of an identity described by this centripetal activity (which excluded any formal investigations of writing) there was a move to situate contemporary poetics in what had quickly become a "tradition." "Contemporary writers surprise us with a determined regionalism, another version of traditional Canadian concerns with the land, wilderness, the pervasive notion that an ill-defined terror of space defines the authentic Canadian sense of things." The concerns for place, for one's own voice within a national idiom ("This is a sturdy, flexible tone, which draws on the resource of daily speech in Canadian English"), and for the definition of the many through the one, which were "imported" by the Tish poets from largely American influences, became part of the making of an identity that defined "an authentic Canadian sense of things." These poetics, attached to nationalism and the "traditional" use of landscape images, have solidified into the sort of monologic imagism concerned with landscape that dominates most CanLit magazines. Also it could be seen as a force within other forces that smooth over "the heteroglossia of language, forces that unite and centralize verbal-ideological thought, creating within a heteroglot national language the firm stable linguistic nucleus of an officially recognized literary language." Other voices do not necessarily fit into these poetics, or more correctly, they are spun out to the margins.

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