Forum is an ongoing discussion site focussed on one particular question per issue proposed by revolving guest editor/s who will conceive of the question and invite specific respondees as well as selecting from reader responses. Other readers are invited to reply with their written views of the announced FORUM question; those views will be considered for publication in this section and may be e-mailed to the FORUM editor. FORUM remarks will, in most cases, be excerpted if included and will be chosen with an eye for introducing new points-of-view that have not yet been expressed. This issue's editor is Nada Gordon<<[email protected]>.
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THIS ISSUE'S FORUM QUESTION
During the act of writing...
...what, if anything, oppresses you? Do you perceive the oppressors to be mainly personal, social, historical, aesthetic, or other? Do they take human form or are the ideational? What do you do to overcome that oppression? How completely do you feel you overcome it? How do you imagine your writing might be different if you overcame it completely?
...do you notice yourself being reactive? What are you, in recent writing instances, reacting to or against -- experience? other writers? social conditions? emotional states? language? or other?
In the introduction to Sulfur 44 (Spring 1999) Marjorie Perloff and Jenny Penberthy advanced the thesis that the multinationalism of contemporary poetry may be its most significant aspect. Poets today draw freely on philisophical, theoretical, and literary writings of other languages. Old dichotomies between American and British, New and Old World, North and South American poetries have started to crumble. And yet there are complex & interrelated questions of gender, race, class, religion etc. that multinationalism (global?) visions too often overlookespecially in cases where literature serves as a vehicle for the local & the particular to resist globalization. And, after all, isnt one of the most fascinating aspects of peotry its linguistic and cultural specificity, its untranslatability?
Moreover, what happens if despite the best of intentions a false universalizing ensues from the current predominance of English in (re)contructing non-English literature, theory, and thought. As Anotnio Cornejo Polar cautions with regard to Latin American studies, the results might be an artifact completely made out of English, precisely the language that is speaking of the marginal, the subaltern, and the postcolonial (Mestizaja e hibridez: Los riesgos de las meta foras, Cuadernos deliterature 6 ).
For the Forum in issue six of HOW2, we would like to propose the following questions: Is there an emergent sense of a transnational community in womens experimental verse? What does (or would) membership entail or require? How could/should such membership be theorized? Have the predominance of English and the popularity of Continental philosophy in the Anglophone world furthered or hindered the development of a truly international self-consciousness among women poets? Is an international journal such as HOW2 complicit in or eccentric to the Anglo-American imperium that has given us world English?