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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...

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Ethnopoetic Sublime

I coined that phrase here in a review of Poems for the Millennium. I had misremembered it as the ethnographic sublime, but no matter. Either way, it is the Western habit of valuing third world poetics inasmuch as they reflect our Western wet dreams of tribal culture, our fantasies of the primitive.

Now I am realizing I have been interested in cultural exceptionalism for longer than I realized.

3 comments:

Andrew Shields said...

Another version of the same thing: the tendency to attribute cool-sounding quotations as "Native American" or "African" or "Chinese" proverbs. The idea that those cultures are wiser than we are.

Jonathan said...

Yes. The fortune cookie syndrome. Also, write a poem in short sentences to sound profoundly oriental.

Dust is settling
all is calm
over the hills

Vance Maverick said...

May you live in interesting times!