Poet, novelist, and playwright Leslie Kaplan came of age in 1960s Paris. France was then defined by a particular brand of conservatism, even while tumultuous events called out for a commitment to activism. President Gaulle had successfully pushed for strong executive power when a new constitution was written, founding the Fifth Republic (1958). He believed that a united and powerful France could re-emerge from war and postwar challenges through fidelity to traditions. Attaching paramount importance to French identity and destiny meant paying little heed to the varied needs of working-class people and other vulnerable populations.
Note: Poet, novelist, and playwright Leslie Kaplan came of age in 1960s Paris. At that time, France was defined by a particular brand of conservatism, even while tumultuous events called out for a commitment to activism. President Charles de Gaulle had successfully pushed for strong executive power when a new constitution was written, founding the Fifth Republic (1958).
If someone asked me how I would envision a garment against women, it would not be too difficult for me to respond. I would suggest something steel and hidebound, an I-beam with little to offer the imagination. It might be a dark cesspool of factory life, much as Marx would have written about in the nineteenth century. It might be a hairshirt or a black mirror that promises no future. In one sense, Anne Boyer’s Garments Against Women captures this, but in another sense, it is a book that talks with a sense of hope about what the world could be.
Note: This — as far as I know — is the last scholarly interview with Amiri Baraka before his saddening passing on January 9, 2014. Baraka here tackles subjects such as radical politics and aesthetics, Marxism and class struggle (in music), vanguardism, Black Arts poetry performance and activism, language writing, the modernist epic mode, and responses to “Somebody Blew Up America” as well as anti-colonial and United Front politics.
Tim Jacobs clarifies a point made by Kaplan Harris is an article we recently published:
In Kaplan Harris's “The Small Press Traffic school of dissimulation,” a statement I made in my 1970s column in the Poetry Flash is mentioned in a favorable light, yet I must take issue with Harris' aside that I filled the column with “snarky comments.” “Snarky comments,” were, if ever, seldom the case — ask Joyce Jenkins, Lewis MacAdams, David Highsmith, or any number of poets who were in the San Francisco scene back then. I tended to do as much reportage on readings and books as I possibly could, in attempting to do justice to a literary culture that was very diverse and growing rapidly.