Wednesday, January 05, 2011

"On Reviewing" (@ Lemon Hound)

Sina Queyras of Lemon Hound asked me to respond to her questionnaire about reviewing, which I gladly did:

LH: Is there a quality you are looking for in a review that you haven’t found?

TD: I think it is less that there is a quality in reviews that I haven’t found, and more a sense that the review, as a form of criticism, should whither. In fact, what I really want more of are forms of literature that enfold their critical reception, and especially their reception as it is inflected through community, friendship, and civic responsibility. What if the poetry book included the review (the blurb is an unsubtle device gesturing at this)? What if the book disappeared into its reception and distribution as, for instance, Tan Lin’s Seven Controlled Vocabularies seems to do in some ways. What if, in other words, the work itself started to constitute an act of meta-discourse that intends to present its role in exchange, community, correspondence, reception, distribution, and its complicity in all of these events. What if distributed authorship (or choral modes of criticism—a term I have been using recently to describe a recent trend within contemporary poetry) made the perceived object disappear, dissolved in a network of others, in becoming, in archive and collective performance and the desire for emergent modes and models of subjectivity? Perhaps, for many of us, that is what the poem already is. Though there is nothing announcing this formal quality through its context within a book, magazine, or wherever else the poem may be encountered. The problem I’m identifying involves a crisis of the media itself, which continues to ‘implode’ in relation to the US’s current oligarchic political system, but perhaps also points to the unsustainability of anything which does not acknowledge its connectivity through higher forms of organization, systematicity, and corporatization.

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