Ira Sadoff: Modernism, Writing Workshops, and the Myth of Closure (July 1995)
Our writing workshops, Ira Sadoff argues, are still “weighed down by the discourse of Modernism,” including the idea that a poem must close with unity and transcendence. Who, Sadoff asks, created this idea of “unity,” and what does it exclude? Can we ignore that these ideas originated in a White, male tradition? Sadoff draws on work by Wallace Stevens, James Wright, Gerald Stern, John Ashbery, Lynn Hejinian and others to consider these questions and offer a different way of evaluating a poem’s closure.