Wednesday, 4 March 2015

School of Outsiderism

While finishing up edits on an absurdly overdue book of essays by Michael Harris, I came across, in an interview he gave Sonja Skarstedt in 1990, a pretty decent definition of the Signal Editions aesthetic.
I have always been attracted to the writing of so-called “outsiders.” Which is not to say “experimentalists” or whatever, although those are partly included—but people whose voices tend to be somewhat solitary or unique. I have great difficulty with “schools”—the school-oriented poets…that is to say “language” or “sound” or “concrete” poets or whatever kind of group of poets. Because I find that the truely interesting sensibilities come from people who have a unique vision of things and so they’re—I mean, my feeling is that there isn’t any particular “voice” that Signal has—there are a range of poetries written by people who have something unique to say. Or a unique way of saying it. And that is what has always interested me about editing: finding those particular voices of people who have worked something out—one thing, or one way of looking at things.
(Photo by Terence Byrnes)

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