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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, June 20, 2014

My Most Brilliant Article

I really think what I'm writing now is my most brilliant article ever. I'm not saying that to brag (actually yes I am, but that's not the point), but to point out that you should always feel that way, about the article you are now writing, if you are doing it right. This won't always happen, but if this never happens you need to shake things up a a bit.

I began by thinking it would be a kind of descriptive one, a kind of traditional influence study, but it is turning out to be much better than that. I am really surprising myself here.

*It is funny.
*It is one of my first and only articles not on poetry per se. I can only think of one more off the top of my head.
*Thus it draws on things I never thought I would use in an academic article. For example, Breaking Bad. Now all my hours of watching that are not in vain. They have become tax deductible.
*I can now envision myself as a theater scholar. I now realize that I can use certain of my writerly talents to talk about things specific to the theater, in ways that I couldn't with lyric poetry.
*It disproves an implicit assumption I had in Apocryphal Lorca. So I have the pleasure of proving myself wrong.
*Often, you can be brilliant in parts of a research project that seem more routine or mundane. I wish I could teach other people that.
*It has the wonderful feedback loop of being able to comment on a work written by someone who read my own previous scholarship.
*It has Billy fucking Strayhorn in it!
*It has a kind of density of reference and insight, where I can cram a lot into every page.

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