To the poet of color or the female poet, to the gay or transgendered writer in America, and even to the white male writer born outside of socioeconomic privilege, a difficult question arises: “Whose language is it?” Where the history of academic and cultural institutions is so dominated by white men of means, “high” language necessarily comes to mean the language of whiteness and a largely wealthy, heteronormative maleness at that. The minority poet seeking entry into the academy and its canon finds that her language is deracialized/sexualized/gendered/classed at the outset…It’s true that minority poets are permitted to bring alternative vernaculars into our work…
But this leaves me and perhaps others like me in a slightly awkward position. I don’t possess a vernacular English that’s significantly different from that of plain old Midwestern English. As such, it seems I’m able to write from a perspective that doesn’t address certain realities about myself, and this makes me queasy as anything. The voice in my head is annoyed with the voice in my writing. The voice in my head says I’m disregarding difference, and this feels like a denial of self, of reality, of a basic truth.” —
Jaswinder Bolina, “Writing Like a White Guy: On language, race, and poetry.”
Interesting enough to read all of. The only problem I have with this way of thinking (which is the way of thinking) is the preconception that upper middle class white is the accepted normal. Sure, our culture makes the white male the standard for “normal,” but by thinking that you are different from him and therefore have to write differently, well, that just makes me uneasy because it seems to be perpetuating his position of power.
I always get the feeling that a grand romantic gesture will fix all of my problems.
Just as surely I could not care less.
Surely it’s an incredible invasion of someone else’s privacy to sit around writing
unsolicited poems to and about him?
Well, as you-know-who would say,
I’m sorry but I just can’t help it I feel this way.
Deeply.” —James Schuyler, Having My Say-So
That’s the most gorgeous thing I’ve heard in a long time, and I’ve been reading a lot of poetry.