Marjorie Perloff is a literary gatekeeper par excellence. Many people choose to walk into literary territories through the gates she constructs. Like those who teach, those who declare themselves the arbiters of culture—aside from exhibiting a belief in non-horizontal models I find reactionary at best—have, I believe, a particular responsibility to make choices that are ethical, thoughtful, aware of their social and political implications. Or perhaps it’s not just a question of responsibility, but also one of effects: the choices such gatekeepers make have very real social and political effects. And it is thus crucial for us to understand the scaffoldings on which the gatekeepers build their gates. And to make thoughtful choices about whose work we will use as guide and inspiration. Overt, explicit racism isn’t usually part of the way Perloff constructs her arguments. But it’s crucially important to know that racism is part of what leads her to make the arguments she makes, to promote the work she promotes.

Jen Hofer, “If You Hear Something Say Something, or If You’re Not at the Table You’re on the Menu”