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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Sunday, December 16, 2012


When I first started out in this field in the late 70s / early 80s, there were people I saw who had known Lorca. I saw a poetry reading by Luis Rosales for exmample. It was in his childhood house that Lorca hid before he was found and killed. The poets I was studying, and my professors, were my parents' generation and are as old as I am know. They are mostly deceased now, as is my father.

Thirty years have passed. Now I can see that a shift has taken place. I can see Lorca as belonging to the past, more clearly. That there is hermeneutic gap that makes my job easier, in a sense. I don't have to see Lorca as my contemporary, but as someone belonging to a discretely different era. This displacement is always necessary. It is hard to see an object from too close a distance.

A lot of students in Graduate School want to do dissertations on contemporary novel and film, and deal with contemporary issues of social import. Immigration, narcos, etc... I understand the urgency and excitement of the present, having been young once. It will be interesting for them when thirty years have passed, to see that change in perspective if I live to be 80.

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