Kaplan Harris‘s “Gender Performance, Performance Enhancement, and Poetry: Reading Ted Berrigan after Viagra” dives into Berrigan’s world of speed and sex, bringing new considerations to bear on The Sonnets and “Things to Do on Speed” via the historical archive and gender theory. Turning to print culture, Harris provides a new contextual framework for Berrigan’s world of poetry and pills.
Harris has work in American Literature, Artvoice, Contemporary Literature, the EPC, Jacket, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. (Click on the links to go to the articles.) He is also editing, with Peter Baker and Rod Smith, The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley for the University of California Press.
Earlier this year, Harris was a guest blogger at Lemonhound — read his post here.
Please enjoy this brief preview of Harris’s essay:
Because speed was marketed to uphold an ideal structure of gender, i.e. to make a man more manly, the abuse of speed for the socially non-beneficial activity of poetry (which is surely less beneficial than military, business, or athletic activities) can be understood as an abuse of such masculine ideals…. But changes in gender performance and performance enhancement are not the same thing. Even if Berrigan does not adhere to the acceptable uses of speed, he still enjoys the advantage of the speed industry’s “rhetoric of enhancement” when fashioning his poetic persona.