Saturday, June 16, 2012

The trouble with I

I recently picked up the book After Confession again, a book from around ten years ago containing essays around lyrical poetry and the use of "I."

Yes, feminist essays describe how women are writing in the Twenty-First Century. (I'll post about this soon.)

However, my true complex began after Rachel Zucker's speech around political poetry at AWP this year:

"Am I saying that the self is always male and female and neither but the “I” is almost always male? White? Dominant? That to speak or write as we have known it is to put on that mantle of authority and what does this have to do with poetry or with government?"

Thus my dilemma, as a white, straight, male poet who is feminist, writes about LGBT issues, and is against masculinity. What can I do with years of Patriarchal poetry writing with the "I" and I am sharing in this "tradition?"

Of course, I'm dabbling in experimental poetry, which helps. (The topics that came up in both the feminist and the political panels at AWP were to find a way of hybrid writing and collaboration.)

Don't get me wrong--I'm a Buber fan. I know how the I-thou relationship in poetry is serving the ecopoetry movement nowadays.

Let me argue that Patriarchal poetry is more like a video game, where the writer has control of the environment, the autonomy, but without any "you" present. Sure, there are games where you partner with another gamer--true environments for socializing--but I'm thinking of the first-person shooter game.

I'm working on a project that examines these dilemmas. Thanks to Alexander R. Galloway's permission to use his essay "Origins of the First-Person Shooter."

I know you will argue for the You. However, I still feel those men who are writing out of patriarchy, operating out of sexism, down my back.

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