The provocative position of Kent Johnson in American poetry over the past two decades-as both its foremost gadfly and its anti-institutional conscience-is unequalled. Admired and abhorred in like measures, he is the author, translator, or editor of more than thirty titles of poetry, criticism, nonfiction, and metafiction. This collection represents a follow-up to his widely reviewed 2008 classic from Shearsman, Homage to the Last Avant-Garde.
He has recently retired, after many years of teaching English and Spanish. In 2004, he was named State Teacher of the Year by the Illinois Community College Board of Trustees. From 2016 to 2020, with Michael Boughn, he oversaw the highly controversial Dispatches from the Poetry Wars.
“Offense given; offense taken. Betrayals remembered and the betrayers unforgiven. Kent Johnson’s mordant poems burn away the scrimshaw, the lace-making, the dreck that passes for poetry today, exposing the hypocrisy of our official poetry culture where a cadre of pampered bourgeoisie imagine themselves enlightened revolutionaries, and the poetics of the avant-garde has congealed into a set of implicit rules more formulaic than the traditions it seeks to supplant.
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