Vanessa Place and the AWP

Contrary to the AWP’s statement regarding the removal of Vanessa Place from the AWP Los Angeles 2016 subcommittee, Place’s tweeting of Gone with the Wind is not “explained” in my pieces on Jacket2. (I cite but don’t discuss the twitter feed.) I do discuss other works by Place that draw on Gone with the Wind, but my commentaries are hardly an endorsement: “a performance of that racist ideology’s stifling of other voices” (http://jacket2.org/commentary/not-repeating-gone-wind); “a white author, repeating this caricatured imitation of black speech” (http://jacket2.org/commentary/whose-speech-who-speaks). Place’s Gone with the Wind work is about racism in US literature and society. But that doesn’t stop it from being racist and offensive. Those who defend Place miss the point. Place’s work rightly provokes outrage; it therefore also garners attention. The question is: is this attention to racism or to Place? (For a very smart analysis of race, social media, and the attention economy in the US today, see Justin Simien’s Dear White People.)

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About Jacob Edmond

Jacob Edmond is associate professor in English at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the author of Make It the Same: Poetry in the Age of Global Media (Columbia University Press, 2019), A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature (Fordham University Press, 2012), and of numerous essays, which have appeared in journals such as Comparative Literature, Contemporary Literature, Poetics Today, Slavic Review, and The China Quarterly.
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