WAY IN 1 WHY ALWAYS THIS WAY? It’s that week at the college where I work. Lawn blowers commenced on Monday. Weed wackers, riding mowers. Symmetrical rows of white chairs began to appear yesterday, radiating outwards from a mound of flowers planted in the shape of a giant M. This happens every year. I’ve got something like 6 cases of wine in the trunk of my car for tomorrow’s year-end celebration. I do not know if I am coming or going.
For last year's AWP, I was supposed to be on a panel called "Poets and Editors on Race and Inclusivity." Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the conference due to back problems. Since the issue of the panel is important to me, I've posted the talk I was going to give below. Please feel free to share:
My name is Craig Santos Perez, and you may remember me from last year’s acclaimed AWP panel “American Hybrid and its Discontents,” where I presented a paper titled “Whitewashing American Hybrid Poetics.” I asked: why would white poets want to be hybrid when hybridity theory is soooo nineties. The answer was simple: if you weren’t hybrid then you had no choice as a white poet but to become either Ron Silliman or Robert Penn Warren.
You may be asking, when did I become such an expert on White-American poetics? Well, I have a B.A. in Literature and MFA in Creative Writing from USAmerican institutions, which means that I’ve only been required to read White-American poets.
The J2 week began, as it usually does, in Philadelphia at Kelly Writers House, with a parcel from Belladonna* books (which I opened while listening to PennSound's new Belladonna* reading series archive, spanning 1999-2009). And then, I went on the road (thinking of it as, instead, "The Wide Road") to do some poetry readings and workshops in Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago and Iowa City, where I met editors from Rescue Press and Lightful Press who handed me review copies. Now, back in the J2 offices, I have a lovely stack of new titles from presses including Shearsman, BlazeVOX, continuum, Reality Street, FSG, Carnegie Mellon and Starcherone (pictured below) I'll post details about shortly.