One of the things that seems odd to me about Ron Silliman’s legendary (post)Avant/SoQ dichotomy is that trying to claim ownership of a country’s cultural heritage, trying to shape a national canon, feels like an essentially conservative impulse. The idea of a national tradition of radical poetics seems self-contradictory, like the Maoist idea of continuous revolution. I don’t think there’s actually a logical contradiction, but there does seem to be some conceptual tension.

I was going to use this observation as the starting point for a whole post about America’s relationship with its cultural heritage, but on balance I think that’s an exercise best left to the reader.

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