The following was originally posted on the old Mobius Infinity boards:
["But isn't everybody post-modern?" "Yeah, but we're 22!"]
The title of this thread is particularly apt as it is the conceit of postmodernists that irks me the most. I read some poetics where these PM dudes were criticising poets for differentiating themselves from postmodernism. As if that was not valid because 'hey you're postmodernist whether you think so or not.'
Well here's another poet who does NOT identify himself as postmodernist. I am not against the theory per se. I love some of the programs that play with the dice such as The Simpsons, Roseanne (except for the last series which went too far with Jackie's imaginary prince and what have you). But I find it more useful as a tool to differentiate from other cultural and literary theories: marxism, phenomenology, etc. Why should it arrogate itself into a position of all inclusiveness?
My main beef with postmodernism, however, is the way that it "opens up all possibilities". I feel cheated and robbed as a poet when I see people spewing out any old crap and insisting that it be called poetry. I have practiced and polished my craft for more twenty five years yet, in current thinking, my work has no more claim to legitimacy than some abject hack who wouldn't know his asshole from his assonance.
It is probably the artists' fault that we have placed what we do on such a pedestal. If the poet was considered in the same light as the cabinetmaker then we might have a go at quantifying/qualifying the standard of what we produce. The inheritors of the Gertrude Stein school of poetics are the equivalent of the guy who goes crazy with a nailgun and insists he's a tradesman. "What's a dovetail joint, man?"