Aught, no. 10 (2003)

Editor's Note on Aught, no. 10: Responses

My initial idea for a special section in Aught grew naturally I suppose out of the sort of thinking I always seem to be doing about influence and derivation and "source": where did this come from? Where is it going?

It's thinking that predictably goes back twenty years to when I was a college student reading literary criticism standards like Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence or hearing the usual hoary and slightly embarassing anecdotes about influences among, say, the Romantic poets and their friends and relatives — what did William steal from his sister Dorothy, anyway? — or the way T.S. Eliot borrowed heavily in assembling The Waste Land and then let Pound edit it so   heavily into the shape people know and love today.

Years later my understanding of textual representation of the world, and influence, and inspiration, and all that, were significantly complicated by reading the texts that came out of the Language writers' various projects, from people like Bernstein or Mayer or Silliman.

Of course, I still don't know what I know about source and influence.

So let's say the first half of this issue of Aught is an attempt to add to the understanding of influence and response and derivation among poets.

It's a local experiment, necessarily, conducted among friends, anything but scientifically-controlled and error-free. My hope is that it will nonetheless offer   insight into what we're talking about when we say something like, "Her poem inspired me to write this" or "Reading his work was the source of my new project."

— Ron Henry

Copyright 2003, by Ron Henry. All rights reserved.
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