Poetry & Politics Roundtable
with Joshua Clover, Chris Nealon, & Juliana Spahr

JOSHUA: Juliana, a few years ago you and Chris were discussing how the idea of the “movement poet” had fallen out of favor. And you said that you wanted to be a movement poet. Can you talk a little bit about what you meant by that, about the idea, about its place in this moment, and about your own interests and poetics in relation to it?

JULIANA: It was a bit of a joke. We were talking about Chris’s essay “Camp Messianism” where he argues that the poets he is interested in are not “movement” poets. The particular poets. Not in general. His examples are Joshua, Kevin Davies, Lisa Robertson, and a few others. In this essay Chris talks also about “a sadly narrow practice of appreciation that is only able to find subversiveness to admire.” He is talking about literary criticism, but maybe also somewhat about the discussion around poetry by poets (perhaps that thing we call poetics). And I agree with Chris that yes, that is a problem. But I was somewhat joking with him that just as much of a problem might be a sadly narrow definition of “movement” poetry. I mean my joke was, who doesn’t want to be a movement poet?

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