But since so much of the poetry machine is consumed in and with the mirroring and the reproduction of what is already preexistent, I don’t understand why such paranoiac conservatism is dedicated to labels. It’s a way of controlling the “other,” to label them. It’s what I meant earlier when I said that’s why the labels are ready-made without any deeper investigation into what those labels may open up, for English and for American poetry. We are too often satisfied with the superficially profound, a representation of depth, and not depth itself.
And people say: “Well, where is it? Point to the center! Point to the system!” People want me to anoint some tyrant, some Big Brother, an Orwellian character, as if a clear-cut totalitarianism is the only way to make this argument clear. But, actually it’s really more—and I hate to use the cliché—it’s more Kafkaesque. It’s all so well-oiled. Everything carries an air of inevitability. So you can’t point to a center or a figure or a group. The whole thing has been going on for so long, the center holds by proliferating in the peripheries. There is suburbia even in poetry.”