An especially piquant post today from Bill Knott re: Ron Silliman’s neophobia. Neophobia is a word brandished by Captain Ron (see here and here) to scare us all into liking the poetry he likes—or even better, to submit to his characterization of the tribes available for poets to choose their “heritage” from. As a Scotch/Irish/English/German mutt, I have little instinct for “heritage” of any kind, and feel a special antipathy to being told that I need to choose a tribe, much less being told what tribe I belong to. It’s important to keep in mind, when reading Captain Ron’s fastidious misreadings of poetry and its history, that he lives in a poetic Survivor world, and just loves voting other poets off the island. Like “School of Quietude,” “neophobia” is a label Silliman has cooked up for those losers who can’t get through his personal tribal council. Such terms make his propaganda seem so logical, so authoritative—but of course that is what propaganda is designed to do.