The Argotist Online
The Academisation of Avant-Garde Poetry
(My response to a critique by Seth Abramson of this Introduction can be found here)
Berry’s essay, Poetry Wide Open: The Otherstream (Fragments In Motion)
with the issue of certain types of avant-garde poetry as not yet having found favour within the Academy, or with
poetry publishers of academically “sanctioned” avant-garde poetry. The
damaging aspects of this exclusion, and the concept of an “approved” versus
an “unapproved” avant-garde poetry, are also examined in the essay. And
these things could well be described as “the academisation of avant-garde
poetic output is operating to a healthy extent in the US, where university
creative writing departments are flourishing. The University of Pennsylvania has
its Kelly Writers House programme, its PennSound website and its Center for
Programs in Contemporary Writing, all sympathetic to academic avant-garde
poetry. The University of Pennsylvania also edits Jacket2, an influential online poetics
website, which was formerly called Jacket, and which was edited by the
independent John Tranter before he passed it over to the university.
could say that the term "avant-garde" has now, essentially, been
appropriated by the Academy, and, as such, has become associated with the sort
of poetic writing practices that could be fairly said to represent
“establishment” poetry, to the extent that the historical resonances of the
term “avant-garde” have become meaningless.
Argotist Online feature presents Berry’s essay, the responses to it from poets
and academics it was first shown to, and an interview with Berry where he
addresses some of the criticisms voiced in these responses.