In a recent e-mail John Bloomberg-Rissman told me about being invited by a prominent anthologist to co-edit an anthology of "outsider writing." Then John asked me:
"...do you know of any outsider writing from your part of the world? By your part I really mean your part, Ohio et environs etc etc--or maybe I don't mean your part, please cast your net as widely as you like - it could be anything: I'm thinking working class writing, dialect writing, local immigrant writing, crazy woman from downtown who tacks xeroxed schizoid rants to telephone poles writing, local psychic (Sister Bertha)'s newspaper ads, etc etc etc. Or something from your library that normally doesn't get canonized. Anything:...."
I posted earlier about this in the vaguest of ways because it is a tenative project. But it is extremely interesting as a possible nexus because of the ways in which it might now be possible to investigate notions of what passes for inside/outside, central and peripheral.
It is, I know, a fraught area of concern. One mustn't exoticize, tread on, etc. But one must learn to speak our whatness, our itness, our thrownness and try,try, try, to make some sense of the beauty and terror of difference (no?).