Of all the writers associated with language poetry, P. Inman may be the most severe. First, there’s his determined attempt to explore what his writing isn’t, what he wants it rid of. To understand his work we have to be aware of what he’s refusing to do. Second, there’s his adherence to fundamental principles that he has both stated (however rarely) and made implicit within his poems. Perhaps more than any other language poet, Inman’s practice follows from his principles and does not (except perhaps in rare instances) do anything other than his principles demand. While it’s always a mistake to suggest that any writer can ultimately serve as a paradigm for a whole field of literary activity, Inman’s work puts into action, relentlessly, some of the ideas most fundamentally associated with language poetry.
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