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Can a poet be an outlaw?

By Harriet Staff

Louisville poets Ron Whitehead and Frederick Smock get into an online tussle over leather vests and handlebar moustaches:

“Given the number of poets and writers around the world who are imprisoned by their governments … how is it given his considerable freedoms, that he considers himself an ‘outlaw poet?'” Smock asked. “It’s not an attack. I’m simply curious about his rationale. Because writers must be precise in their choice of words.”

Whitehead defended his use of the word “outlaw” and had his own phrase for Smock: academic elitist.

“I could have easily chewed him up and spit him out as far as poetry goes,” Whitehead said. “I was raised to be a warrior. If someone (messes) with me, it’s on.”

Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 by Harriet Staff.