Another corker of a thread, by Kenny Goldsmith, at Harriet which asks the age-old question, "Why aren't YOU doing more for the avant garde?" (So much for hybrid poetry, eh?) If Reginald Shepherd were here, he would say... in fact he did say, in an earlier edition of this old debate:
The avant-garde isn’t the advance guard anymore, and hasn’t been for a while. The armies have been disbanded, though many of the officers have yet to inform themselves of the fact. There are, of course, many people who haven’t yet passed through the avant-garde and never will. (It would be nice if some of those people would at least read Eliot. But then, it would be nice if some of those people would read Keats.) But once you have passed through that avant-garde door, there is no forward march, no destination or telos, just an open field. In the somewhat exaggerated words of philosopher and art critic Arthur C. Danto, “there are to be no next things. The time for next things is past. [RS: nice paradox.] It [is] like coming to the end of the world with no more continents to discover." [...]
Obviously, experimentation and innovation will and should continue, in the sense of trying something out to see what happens, of engaging in poetic endeavors without knowing or attempting to predetermine the outcome. Poetry is always at least in part a foray into the unknown, a project of finding out what happens in the process of participating in its happening. But the sense of a forward march, of a correct path to the future and a virtuous method by which to reach to that future, is gone, or at least no longer valid. To what destination are the arts, is poetry, marching at this very late date?
-- from "Defining 'Post-Avant-Garde' Poetry"
(Hm. I wonder what he'd have said about the Arthur Krystal quotes from my earlier post, e.g., "the arts as we know them have run their course. You can argue this until your face is blue, but it won’t change the historical fact.")