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An Interview with Rae Armantrout

An Interview with Rae Armantrout an interview with RAE ARMANTROUT Conducted by Lynn Keller ince the early 1970s, Rae Armantrout has been affiliated with the "contentious community" we now think of as the West Coast Language poets (Collected Prose [Singing Horse, 2007] 9). Despite her having been repeatedly anthologized among the Language writers, despite her close friendships with members of that cohort, even despite her having coordinated for a time the signature Grand Piano reading series, in the 1970s and 1980s she often felt herself on the margins of that collectivity. This may be attributed in large part to Armantrout's tendency to probe and challenge conformities, even the emerging norms of the radical innovators whose work she admired. She recollects that in the mid-seventies, when nonreferentiality was a key concept for her peers, she "wasn't convinced that language could be nonreferential and, if it could, I wasn't sure I would be interested in the result" (Grand Piano, Part 3 [Mode A, 2007] 53). Similarly, after recalling "I think we all found the first-person lyric poem as we had inherited it (with its production of `the personal') somehow unsatisfactory, even disingenuous," she adds, "Then what? Pronouns don't go away" (Grand Piano, Part 1 [Mode http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

An Interview with Rae Armantrout

Contemporary Literature , Volume 50 (2) – Dec 16, 2009

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
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Copyright © University of Wisconsin Press
ISSN
1548-9949
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Abstract

an interview with RAE ARMANTROUT Conducted by Lynn Keller ince the early 1970s, Rae Armantrout has been affiliated with the "contentious community" we now think of as the West Coast Language poets (Collected Prose [Singing Horse, 2007] 9). Despite her having been repeatedly anthologized among the Language writers, despite her close friendships with members of that cohort, even despite her having coordinated for a time the signature Grand Piano reading series, in the 1970s and 1980s she often felt herself on the margins of that collectivity. This may be attributed in large part to Armantrout's tendency to probe and challenge conformities, even the emerging norms of the radical innovators whose work she admired. She recollects that in the mid-seventies, when nonreferentiality was a key concept for her peers, she "wasn't convinced that language could be nonreferential and, if it could, I wasn't sure I would be interested in the result" (Grand Piano, Part 3 [Mode A, 2007] 53). Similarly, after recalling "I think we all found the first-person lyric poem as we had inherited it (with its production of `the personal') somehow unsatisfactory, even disingenuous," she adds, "Then what? Pronouns don't go away" (Grand Piano, Part 1 [Mode

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Dec 16, 2009

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