The reason I write this blog isn't just to hype ULA writers and events. Nor is it solely to provoke and debate defenders of the literary status quo. That's secondary. This blog exists to explain ULA philosophy, AND to try to keep the underground literary movement, which is embodied in the ULA, on track. Not always an easy task!
While I'm not the spokesperson for the ULA, only one of many, I'm certainly a spokesman for the movement. In March 1999 I articulated the ideas which sparked this campaign in a broadside titled, "How to Create a Literary Movement" (reprinted in Zine World: A Reader's Guide to the Underground Press a few months later). I personally chose the original team members from those lit-zeen personalities I already knew and those many who responded to my essay. The actions the new team engaged in were part of an intentional plan, the foundations of which were formed in our founding October 2000 meeting in Hoboken. I've thought about this campaign intensely for six years-- if truth be told, for at least a full year before that while working in the import-export biz along Detroit's riverfront.
I know what we've done right, and I also know those many mistakes I and the group have made which cost us momentum. I know the actions we need to take, the image we need to have, the ideas we need to articulate, in order to make the plan a success.
Some of what I post on this blog is venting, but most of it is written to accomplish objectives-- in the same way the responses of our opponents are written to achieve objectives: to defuse, derail, and divide what has been for the most part an UNCOMPROMISING aggressive movement of a kind never before seen in North American literature.
The ULA can survive and prevail only as an expression of new ideas. Without that we'd be like any other lit-group and would fade quickly into bourgeois irrelevance. If we're to be merely a vehicle for opportunism, then we've lost our reason-for-being and should be disbanded. If we're to operate like every other middle-of-the road safely unimaginative lit group, then we've lost our reason-for-being and should be disbanded. If we're to seek peace before confrontation, security before victory; to meld with the pet-shop mob which has led lit to a tidy quiet corner of culture's house-- a tired sleeping dog on a too-soft rug-- then the ULA has lost its reason-for-being and should be disbanded.
REMEMBER this organization took as its founding act a publicly signed Protest which divorced us from ALL other writers and lit folk; from the very idea of "things as they are"; pushing us instead into the unknown adventure of authentic cultural rebellion.
I'm confident this movement IS on track, that it HAS confronted writers across the spectrum and forced them to face their assumptions and poses; that we WILL continue putting pressure on the literary establishment, and more pressure, and more of it, testing the System like sudden forced water rushing through rusted pipes, looking for leaks, searching for weaknesses, exploding the entire failed network if need be as prelude to creating a completely new literature.