To Revive the Lyric: Hoa Nguyen

Daniel E. Pritchard in The Critical Flame:

Juice.jacket_largeFrom the technology of printing to the economy of grants and the politics of academia, literary culture exists in complete continuity with the rest of contemporary society. It is susceptible to the same virtues, biases, limitations, and power structures. Thus it’s no surprise that the fiercest debates within our semi-isolated community should mirror those of the world at large. In her already-infamous essay at Lana Turner, “Delusions of Whiteness in the Avant Garde,”Cathy Park Hong writes:

The avant-garde’s “delusion of whiteness” is the specious belief that renouncing subject and voice is anti-authoritarian, when in fact such wholesale pronouncements are clueless that the disenfranchised need such bourgeois niceties likevoice to alter conditions forged in history.

Behind her critique lies an essential conflict, which has upended and reformed modern society for centuries: what is the value of the individual within a power structure? What is the role of an individual voice? It is the Papacy against the preacher, the Tory against the Jacobin, the police against the protester: and today, within poetry culture, two traditions in conflict over the same basic paradigm.

More here.