Mixed Signals: Responses to Daniel Tiffany
Sep 15, 2014
1 Min read time
Image: Smallest Forest
Daniel Tiffany’s “Cheap Signaling,” with its provocative argument about class conflict and poetic diction, ignited conversation on- and offline. Its case for the relevance of the logics and under-histories of kitsch, and its reframing of vernaculars in some contemporary poetry, led readers to admire Tiffany’s innovative synthesis but also to question inclusions and omissions. Some applauded the revitalization of terms of class oppositionality in poetry, while others challenged troublesome figurations they felt didn’t account for the verities of economic class, or of race or gender. Knowing the essay left so many with so much to say, we wrote to a number of critics and poets soliciting responses to the essay. Some accepted our invitation eagerly, and others, including Fred Moten and the editors of Commune Editions, indicated they might respond to the essay elsewhere—so be on the lookout.
Over the course of the week, we’ll present eleven essays that speak to questions that Tiffany’s essay has raised. They interpret, in a wide variety of ways—in a variety of dictions, in fact—the currents that transmit “cheap signals” of many kinds.
Any exegesis of American class structures, any analysis of how class manifests or signals in our cultural products (poems and otherwise) has countless entry points. The writers gathered here explore some of the landscapes, texts, and artifacts that inform our thinking about class in and through poetry—shifting and overlapping cultural fields that include terms of labor and exploitation, monetary privilege and inheritance, cultural capital and education, enfranchisement and translation. The conversation requires a complex calculus, a recognition of the uncertain differentials that describe how, when, and where notions of value change from place to place, year to year, paycheck to paycheck.
September 15, 2014
1 Min read time