Thursday, 9 July 2009
post early for christmas
I’ve noticed that a number of blogs lately have been agonising about newness: what is new, what do we call it etcetera. We wallow these days in job descriptions like ‘post avant’ that indicate not much more than the fact that various writers of the past are now unavailable (if they haven’t been appropriated to death). Those who invent the labels often enough seem to be suggesting that all that came before themselves is fit for the dustbin of history. In an environment like this younger writers naturally feel that they should mark out spaces for themselves. Every few years there’s a new take on ‘realism’, which is fair enough I suppose because realism is always already the impossible project. The ‘dirty realism’ of the 1980s has now mingled its dust with flarf, becoming a new ‘edgy’-ness (a bit like the laughable pop term ‘emo’). It is understandable now that writing schools are churning out poets of all descriptions that this concern with branding should be with us. If I were a younger writer I might want to avail myself of some of it. But I think that soon enough I would be running for the hills. Only the originators of these house styles ever really want to hang onto their designer labels, and they often enough become embarrassments in their dotage.