Another book in formation


Meta-criticism, as an enterprise, is not that big in the United States poetry world. Most poets seem to think that criticism of one's work should be done by someone else. Yet, as of the mid Teens, I had some things to say about what I'd published up to that point, some demarcative lines to set in place, that no one could articulate but me. As an American avant-gardist, coming up and establishing myself through the avant-garde scene, I semi-camouflaged the biggest home truth defining me, for myself, as a literary artist; that my most profound source of aesthetic inspiration had always been and would always be the English Romantics and Milton. Everything I wrote and published bears the insignia of long, patient study of Keats, Wordsworth, and Milton especially, as the avatars of choice for me. So, for precisely one year, mid-2014 to mid-2015, I took some time to compose and publish a body of meta-critical work, positing myself the way I would like to be posited, configuring myself the way I'd like to be configured.

Any reader may choose to judge if this impulse is a presumptuous one or not. Meta-criticism is, most definitely, and among other things, a "for better or for worse" enterprise. Writers are as prone to illusions and delusions as much as anyone else. The 2014-2015 body of writing I self-pubbed, with the title Exile and Exegesis. Coming back to the meta-criticism after many years absence, I've judged that some of it bears the hallmarks of literary substantiality. Thus, I have begun re-shaping and re-forming the essays, with the idea of re-pubbing Exile and Exegesis in a more mature, more comprehensive form (the original ed. is mostly offline now). Two of the flagship pieces to emerge are Reap Together and Notes: Elegy 420/St. Agnes Eve. Those inclined to deprecate meta-criticism will have to forgive me; but it helps to understand that centralized grounding in Keats, Wordsworth, and Milton in the United States is very rare for a poet. If I want to make clear that this, these poets, are where my textual grounding is, and not be misunderstood, it is incumbent on me to make myself clear, to those who might care.