Prepping (read finding books) for my spring class--302A, Poets Since 1960--and re-reading the work from the last 50 or so years, a few things are blatantly clear:
1) I have a long way to go.
2) But so did all these writers who started out one way, and ended up somewhere else, for better or worse, but along the way... wow.
3) American literature is not established at all. Sure, any culture's lit is in flux, morphing, flexing. But ours? It's both varied AND stagnate. How can this be? The most interesting poets have their hands in everything--themes, styles, strategies, hybrid genres--but their voices and interests remain constant, like a heartbeat or Twinkies. They're trying to actually GET at something elusive, painfully and awkwardly at times, and I think that's clearly us as a nation. We're still quite young--we don't know that much, just how to party and bully and flirt.
4) Some of the best writing, by far, has come from poets not white and not male. Not that white males aren't doing some good stuff.
5) So many poems, so many words, hardly read or not read at all, all that blood and sweat buried away, fortunate to see light again, fortunate to be felt again.
6) I sorta see how I fit in with everyone. This is both comforting and "deer in the headlights."
7) Holy holy holy.