Identity and Contingency

  • Bruce Bond


This chapter explores contemporary debates over the nature and position of identity. Many such debates pit “conceptualism” against voices of minorities, who note a regressive politics that aspires, from a position of relative privilege, to trivialize the need for and performance of identity altogether. Often what is missing in this debate is a compassionate recognition of the psychological context and realities that inform and validate the diction used to frame an argument. Poets discussed here include Vanessa Place and Layli Long Soldier. The chapter also takes up George Oppen’s notion of the self as “numerous” (its identity and nature embedded in a social context) as nuanced in ways that still recognize the self’s essential detachment and autonomy, however culturally conscribed and articulated.


Self Identity Conceptualism Oppen Long Soldier Poetry 

Works Cited

  1. Herbert, Zbigniew. Mr. Cogito. Trans. John Carpenter and Bogdana Carpenter. Hopewell, NJ: Ecco, 1995. Print.Google Scholar
  2. Long Soldier, Layli. Whereas. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf, 2017. Print.Google Scholar
  3. Oppen, George. Collected Poems. New York, NY: New Directions, 1975. Print.Google Scholar
  4. Place, Vanessa. “Interview with Vanessa Place.” Interview by Jacob Bromberg. The White Review, Oct. 2014. Web.
  5. Place, Vanessa. from Notes on Conceptualisms. Academy of American Poets, 07 Mar. 2011. Web.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Bond
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North TexasDentonUSA

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