Ryan James Wilson posted a comment to my manifesto of days past, and one of his responses was that non-WHeMa poets could be considered voiceless, but that folks like Pound, in the Cantos, give voice to the dead, the voiceless. It's an interesting point. But I think my gut response is that Pound is actually committing violence instead of benevolence. He is, after all (in my mind), one of the biggest WHeMas ever, and in this instance his "giving voice" is actually sort of akin to him placing his fingers in the skull of the past, making its jaw flap and filling in the rest. Ventriloquism again.
Ryan also wonders if I'm really talking about Keats's notion of negative capability. I don't think so. My understanding of negative capability (which is shaky at best) is, as Ryan describes, having the ability to nearly BE another person via the poem. But I think I'm looking for ways in which multiple selves may coexist, but which discreetly occupy the same person. For instance, I have a poem in which the narrator spontaneously—and fairly inexplicably—switches genders. Multiple times. But the culmination of those gender migrations is a self in which gender coexists in balance, not as a social dichotomy. If I'm mistaken on the Keats theory, please correct me before I embarrass myself in public.
Are we neo-Confessionals or nouveau Confessionals? I still hate the word Confessional, so loaded with Catholic baggage and courtroom dramas. But "Professional" may cause us to be mistaken for hookers. Anyone have probs with that? Maybe it's a way to make poetry pay.
Ryan's thoughtful comments are enlivened by a beautiful example of work in his blog. Please check it out. Jesus, bicycles, dolls & taxidermists, Barcelona...you will be enthralled.
Tomorrow: "You're Not Queer, But My Boyfriend Is: The Queer 'You' in American Poetry."