I think one of the things that language poets are very involved with is getting away from conventional ideas of beauty, because those ideas contain a certain attitude toward women, certain attitudes toward sex, certain attitudes toward race, etc.
American poetry is always about defining oneself individually,claiming one's right to be different and often to break taboos.
From reading a previous answer, you know that I consider all those aspects to be part of American cultural myth and thus they figure into good American poetry, whether the poet is aware of what he is doing or not.
I don't like political poetry, and I don't write it. If this question was pointing towards that, I think it is missing the point of the American tradition, which is always apolitical, even when the poetry comes out of politically active writers.
So, I've never been politically correct, even before that term was available to us, and I have really identified with other people who don't want to be read as just a black poet, or just a woman poet, or just someone who represents a cause, an anti-Vietnam war poet.
I have always wanted what I have now come to call the voice of personal narrative. That has always been the appealing voice in poetry. It started for me lyrically in Shakespeare's sonnets.
I think that great poetry is the most interesting and complex use of the poet's language at that point in history, and so it's even more exciting when you read a poet like Yeats, almost 100 years old now, and you think that perhaps no one can really top that.
American poetry, like American painting, is always personal with an emphasis on the individuality of the poet.
I'm passing on a tradition of which I am part. There's a long line of poets who went before me, and I'm another one, and I'm hoping to pass that on to other younger, or newer, poets than myself.
Because, in fact, women, feminists, do read my poetry, and they read it often with the power of their political interpretation. I don't care; that's what poetry is supposed to do.
Sometimes the archaism of the language when it's spoken is why we are all in love with the Irish today.
But I don't think that poetry is a good, to use a contemporary word, venue, for current events.
Other people have noticed more of an evolution than I have and so I'll try to tell you where I'm coming from and also relate it to what I think other people perceive.
High and low culture come together in all Post Modern art, and American poetry is not excluded from this.
One, I have a wonderful publisher, Black Sparrow Press; as long as they exist, they will keep me in print. And they claim they sell very respectable numbers of my books, so I guess, and it's true, every place I go, my books are in libraries and on bookshelves.
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