Wayne Koestenbaum: I never knew you weren’t supposed to include the domestic in poetry, like I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to wear white after Labor Day—or before Memorial Day? Nobody told me. It actually never once occurred to me that the domestic was taboo.
The domestic—a category that includes the food I eat, the errands I run, “lifestyle” arrangements, my household’s day-to-day doings—has always been front and center in my poems and prose, just as my dreams have always been my prime material. (When I was an undergraduate, a creative-writing teacher told me that you weren’t supposed to write about your dreams.) But for me, the things that are truly taboo are income, what things cost, and teaching—my job. When I was unemployed, or before I became a professor, I could talk about my temp jobs, and if I were an adjunct I could still talk about work, but since I’m tenured, I can’t talk about employment except in the most ironic and veiled ways. In my poems, I like to talk about food, but if the arugula is too nurtured and expensive, I can’t mention it. I mentioned in a recent poem a tip I gave a hairdresser, but I think I lied about how much the tip was, because I spend so much to get my hair cut and colored that it would probably disqualify me forever from poetic street cred if any readers knew.[READ MORE]
quasi-relevant to trauma as a bore, esp. w/r/t “making class war something not taboo”; the taboo serving to protect privilege, preserve inequalities, etc.
yes. i want to talk about this all the time.