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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...

Friday, April 26, 2013

2nd paragraph

The aim of this essay is not to evaluate any particular set of exceptionalist claims--whether made on behalf of Spain, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, the United States, or Japan--but rather to sketch an outline of the poetics of cultural exceptionalism. My prediction, then, that exceptionalism will take on a “typical” form wherever it is found, even when the claims for uniqueness are strongest. The term poetics, here, will refer to the system of tropes that gives structure to exceptionalist discourse, and also to the poetics of poetry itself, insofar as modern poets from Yeats and Williams to Cavafy, Lorca, Lezama Lima, and Paz have linked their own projects to various forms of cultural nationalism.

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