Publication Date

January 2010


The past twenty years in American poetry have given rise to middle space poetry, poetry—sometimes labeled “Third Way,” “Hybrid,” and/or “Elliptical”—that situates itself in the middle space between mainstream/lyric and avant-garde/experimental aesthetics. While work in the middle space by now should have added up to an important and fruitful development in contemporary poetry—for there is much shared ground for these aesthetics to explore—middle space thinking and poetry for the most part has been very problematic. Paradoxically, the problems of the middle space—especially as it is presented in its three key anthologies: Reginald Shepherd’s The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries and Lyric Postmodernisms, and Cole Swensen and David St. John’s American Hybrid—largely result from its trying to be too politic.) Originally published in Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing and used with permission.


English Language and Literature