Region and Poetry

In Marjorie Perloff’s Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century, the introduction mentions:

[T]he notion of a ‘new American poetry’ restricted to those who dwell and work in the United States seems increasingly anachronistic.  Where poets actually live is much less important than what they do, and mobility—whether of texts, now eminently movable, of or of their authors—is the status quo.

Yes, it has started to feel almost quaint to think of poets by region—I mean, I wouldn’t think to call myself a “Central Texas poet”—but for poets whose work draws or comments directly on region and/or regional culture it’s clearly justified.  But of course this justification does come in large part because of the subject matter of the work—what “they do,” as the quote says.

But what is done is, admittedly, in the context of the environment one is in.  Even though I do not necessarily write of regional issues (typically not), I am not willing to argue that my work is independent of where I live, as the poems, nonetheless, were produced in that context.  (Still, though, I would not call myself a poet of [insert region].)

Also, labeling oneself as a [insert region] poet can feel problematic if one has relocated often/travels much.  I do agree that our mobility can lessen the meaning of being a “[insert region] poet”; regarding growing up one place (or many places) but then living in another place: could someone who has done this call themselves a poet of the latter place, with conviction?  How much time/experience is needed to be a poet of a specific place (it seems to me that readers would prefer more qualification than having a pulse at a coordinate)?

On a related note, I’d like to think of magazines that only accept work from those living in a certain region.  What does this mean in this age of mobility?  I understand that oftentimes such magazines are strictly looking for work that speaks on the region—is this what would justify having that residential criterion, then?  Why would the magazine, therefore, not be interested in work by someone not living there speculating on life there (and being explicit that it is speculation) or someone who once lived there using his/her memory of the place?  I suppose this has to do with seeking an “authenticity” that features or stems from direct experience from the present.  (I am not trying to undermine the value of such magazines, by the way; I’m trying to think about what principles they go by.)

Do you call yourself an [insert region] poet/writer?  If so, why?

What are your responses to the questions I ask throughout this post?