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Juliana Spahr at The New Inquiry: ‘Why Marx has got to go? Why not that poem by Frederick Seidel…?’

By Harriet Staff

On rolls: Juliana Spahr is interviewed at The New Inquiry for their “Five Questions with __________” series, an experiment with flash interviews. Beautifully, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi links us to Spahr’s twelve-year-old essay, “Metromania: Poetry, Academy, Anarchy.” Gharavi writes: “(I searched high and low for it—at least two library archives carrying the journal in which it appeared skipped that publication year, and I surreptitiously started to give this omission greater meaning—so she has generously allowed me to set it free…‘Metromania’ reflected on the institutionalized American literary establishment, the nature of creation and the larger social fabric, and financial subsidization (or lack thereof). It is as relevant as ever.” Question time:

Diana di Prima wrote in ‘Fire Sale Everything Must Go!!! [Ed. note: See original post for correct line breaks]:

As for those other long failed or failing systems

Marx has to go & Lenin with him

Trotsky too let’s stop looking over our shoulders

What else has to go?

Oh Diana di Prima, why Marx has got to go? Why not that poem by Frederick Seidel, the one that acts all edgy to cover its tiredness? That book where Eileen Showalter calls Gulf War Syndrome male hysteria? That middle brow novel that uses emotional detail and realism to cover over the consumerism of the first world? That Billy Collins poem that isn’t about a mushroom at all? That movie I saw last week, Celeste and Jesse Forever?

Given that in Latin a forum is a market place or public square, what physical forums for public exchange can we still rely on in the aftermath of the monetization and deterioration of public institutions?

The bedroom, the kitchen, the garden, the oasis, the well, the beach, the forest, the clearing…

How do you survive airports?

Last one: hoodie; hot tea and soda water, no ice; Dana Ward’s This Can’t be Life, Lies: a Journal of Materialist Feminism, and Rob Nixon’s Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor.

Previous one: hoodie; hot tea and soda water, no ice; Patrick Ouředník’s Europeana: a Brief History of the Twentieth Century, Alice Notley’s Culture of One, and Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism.

Which figure do you most empathize with based purely on concern for their desire or motive: Alice the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit, or the mouse that fell into Alice’s tears?

The Mock Turtle. (From Wikipedia: ‘a very melancholy character, it is thought because he used to be a real turtle. He tells Alice his history of going to school in the sea, but cannot understand the school system that Alice describes to him—least of all the poetry she recites. Ironically, she cannot understand it either.

Read the full interview.

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, September 24th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.