N.H. Pritchard’s ‘The Matrix’

Quinn Latimer at Poetry Magazine:

What is the matrix? Without resorting to pharmaceuticals in various chromatic registers—red, blue—and the versions of paranoid reality such pills might produce, it feels right to recall the ways this concept has been deployed in mediums neither cinematic nor far-right political. In the early 1990s, Kevin Young wrote in an essay about the poet N.H. Pritchard, “The concept of the matrix is that the matrix is the concept, or rather, the paradigm from which the poem gets produced.” That is, the matrix is abstract structure that, as the French literary theorist Michael Riffaterre writes in Semiotics of Poetry (1978), “becomes visible only in its variants, the ungrammaticalities.” For James Edward Smethurst, the matrix is the Black Arts Matrix of the late 20th century, as tracked in “Foreground and Underground: the Left, Nationalism, and the Origins of the Black Arts Matrix,” the first chapter in his treatise The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s (2005).

more here.