Funny Business
A Special Edition of The East Village

Kent Johnson

September 10

Delmore Schwartz on the Post-Language Generation

"Once a literary and poetic revolution has established itself, it is no longer
revolutionary, but something very different from what it was when it had to
struggle for recognition and assert itself against the opposition of established
literary authority. Thus the most striking trait of the poetry of the rising
generation of poets is the assumption as self-evident and incontestable of that
conception of the nature of poetry which was, at its inception and for years
after, a radical and much disputed transformation of poetic taste and sensibility
[sic]. What was once a battlefield has become a peaceful public park on a
pleasant summer Sunday afternoon, so that if the majority of new poets write in a
style and idiom which takes as its starting point the poetic idiom and literary
taste of the generation of Bernstein, Silliman, and Hejinian, the motives and
attitudes at the heart of the writing possess an assurance which sometimes makes
their work seem tame and sedate." (Selected Essays)