Rae Armantrout

The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poets

Language Interchange 8 by J. E. TheriotI've been wrestling with the Language Poets for several years now. It's a pretty masochistic pursuit, but I believe if one is going to write poetry in the 21st century (speaking of masochistic pursuits) one must come to grips with them one way or another. For good and ill, they bent the perameters of the art in such a fundamental way that even vehemently non-experimental poets must take their ideas into account. 

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"A Writer First, A Woman After" --Katherine Mansfield

Honestly, I do not know what possessed me to attempt to tackle this topic, but here it is: there is no essential difference between male and female poets. In fact, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that in a blind taste test, it would be nearly impossible to accurately guess the gender of any given poet by the poem alone.*** The range of approaches and poetic concerns within each gender grouping are just too vast; in other words the category "women poets" is so broad as to be nearly meaningless.

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