Thursday, February 19, 2009
Ideology and Hypocrisy
Jerome McGann's book The Romantic Ideology focuses on ideology as being often semi or unconscious. What about poets for whom ideology is a sine qua non of poetic practice? What about poets who are, for want of a better term, ideologues? Of course, McGann would say that all poets are ideologues to some extent, but I am talking about poets who foreground ideology in their work. It could be feminist, queer, working class, black, bourgeois, materialist, spiritualist, any number of things. When ideology is foregrounded, what effect does it have on the work? I have always felt that ideologues generally write lousy poetry. I used to call poetry ideologues "agenda poets." There would seem to be a price to pay either way. What is the cost for adopting and maintaining ideologies at the expense of the aesthetic, and vice versa? What are the wages of ideology and verse?