To be influential in this context means more than finding a way to cause other poets to follow one’s example in style or substance. It is a matter of literally finding a viable language in which to speak. Viability in terms of poetry relates to some form of authenticity, which means some form of “truth,” a fact which separates literature generally but poetry in particular from other realms of linguistic experience. Think politics, where the opposite is the case—Chinese politics in particular (though recent debates in the United States makes one think of this country as well): here we experience language not as something predicated on viability (it needs no such bolstering) or authenticity. Political language in China is not truth to power, it is power to truth.
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