Please check out my newest project:
Poetry Isn't Safe
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Thursday, October 31, 2013
I stole this idea from David Hernandez at the Rumpus via Tara Skurtu. Oh the cheezy fun!
We Real Cool Vampires
VAMPIRES HAVE EATEN THE POOL PLAYERS.
MURDERED SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL.
We real cool. We fly in the night 'cause we
Left school. We hunt in a pack and we
Lurk late. We sharpen our teeth--our claws
Strike straight. We raise Hell when we
Sing sin. We drink bloody girls who taste of
Thin gin. We rock Ann and roll Jill and
Jazz June. We're coming for you--you're gonna
Friday, October 25, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
So if you're one of the 8 people who didn't read Alissa Nutting's Tampa this summer, let me point you to my Amazon Review. It's a fun book if you can have fun reading a disturbing topic (note: I can!).
Alissa picked up a copy of With Rough Gods recently and had this to say about it:
Everything you love about reading ancient myths, rendered in lucid, incredible poems--a clear winner! As an enormous fan of fairy tales, origin stories, and mythology, I found this book to be essential and enjoyable.
Short, lovely, and to the point! As she was a former editor of the incomparable Fairy Tale Review, I couldn't be happier with it.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Over at Lutheran Surrealism (see the links list) there's a haiku contest up. Much of the commentary is, fortunately or un-, not haiku. Ah well. I've been taking the opportunity to write some emotionally healing one-offs to deal with the loss of my youngest.
Here they are. I'll update if more get written before Sunday. Enjoy!
A missing daughter
Summer fades into autumn
And silenced laughter
Indefinite In Context
words unravel like a tear
winds abrading me
Not a crook
My wrinkled thumb stumps
air now no weight is there my
arm cradles absence.
We are wound by God
to breed immortal children
even though they die.
A sunken island
wishes to unmoor itself
and drift, forgotten.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Friday, August 9, 2013
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
This is not a review.
I was going to write a review of Jessica Piazza's wonderful book Interrobang but my youngest daughter Margaret died suddenly on Monday, August 5th. Instead I will leave this poem which was my favorite in the book when I first read it two weeks ago and is now far more important to me. Please buy Jess's book. Anyone who can write this deserves your patronage.
Love of dolls
The week her daughter died, the room her girl
had occupied became a home for dolls.
The first an angel: fearsome, glass-gazed gift
to dull a mother's utter grief; the next
a paint and porcelain she numbly bought
from QVC. It looked like her. And now
she sees her small grandchildren grow, and knows
it's good. But they can't guess each small dress
arranged by day comes into disarray
by night. They bring her more, naive. Don't know
she weeps in the overflowing sea of limbs
that manage, year by year, to commandeer
the bed, the floor, and more. An orphanage
of girls. A thousand eyes that cannot shut.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Perhaps the answer is nothing.
As evidenced by her two new poems in this month's issue of Poetry, "Sestina: Like" and "The Rosehead Nail," Stallings maintains my claim that she is the best American poet since Sylvia Plath. Her poems seem specifically calculated to make me swoon.
By "me" I mean anyone with a serious education (traditional or autodidact) in the classics, poetry, and poetics. If you're the kind of person who owns an OED and for whom "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" holds a dear place in your heart, you're going to love A.E. Stallings' poetry (if you don't already).
And yet I wonder.
Look at the vocabulary of both poems. "Sestina" uses "desuetude" and "Nail" "quincunx." While I love the challenge of both finding and providing unfamiliar words (especially ones that sound so lovely: see "indehiscent" in her poem "Olives") I know from experience both reading and teaching that vocabulary can be a huge turn-off for some folks.
And that's sort of the crux of the question. In a world with a triple division of poetry: popular, traditional, and obfuscatory, I would like to know what the uninitate thinks of the average Stallings poem. Is she merely a "poet's poet"? Worse, is she merely this "poet's poet"? Most of me doesn't think so, though in reading contemporary poetry with my students I've gotten a lot more traction with the poems of Jill Alexander Essbaum or Joshua Mehigan or Brian McGackin than I have with Stallings' poems.
Maybe it's not her it's me?
Perhaps I see Stallings' poems and see exemplars for what I have tried to write. Lord knows reading her "Three Poems to Psyche" so soon after the publication of With Rough Gods was incredibly unsettling. But I don't think I'm unrealistic about the potential audience for poetry. That is, I know big words scare people. Someone once told me that I was writing poetry for the intellectual crowd as well. Somehow I didn't see this (like seriously, my first book is about Greek Mythology--who ELSE was I writing for?) and was taken a bit aback.
Artists always need to balance their desire to communicate with the ability of the audience to comprehend. While I agree with both Dante and Eliot that the experience trumps the understanding, the possibility of comprehension must exist. It clearly does in Stallings' work--so is there a problem?
Maybe it's everyone else?
I am unsettled still when I read her work and am concerned about its reach to a broader audience. As I count her among my favorite poets and among our best poets, that concern bleeds into a more general concern for poetry.
Why is it that difficulty in poetry should stop an audience cold when this is not the case for other forms of art? Folks loved Inception. LOVED IT. Lost, too. I hear both students and adults debate the complexity of this song, that lyric--the complexity of some puzzling video game.
Why have they lost the ability to appreciate such puzzles in poetry?
There are plenty of answers but I think I am more interested in this question: what do we as poets do if we acknowledge this disparity?
Is it a compromise of art to acknowledge and adjust your work to accommodate the limitations of your broader audience or do you accept that your art--by its nature--limits its own audience?
A.E. Stallings work thus far gives her a solid claim to be the best poet of our age. But will she be our age's favorite poet? What value is there in either honorific? In any honorific? Laurels are just leaves, after all.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
So twitter showed me a new article at Harriet today:
Rhyme by Anthony Madrid
In it, Mr. Madrid makes the claim that non-visual rhymes (tough and fluff) are better than visual rhymes (blow and show) because they create cognitive dissonance.
That would be nice if it weren't untrue (indeed, maybe they do on a second, third, fifteenth reading--but that's not what he's getting at in his article).
We "hear" what we read. It's one of the reasons poetry has to "sound good" even if it's "closet verse."
But asking the average poetry scholar to know about cognitive science appears to be a losing battle. I wish it weren't so.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
So Anis Shivani has a HuffPo article on the 15 Most Overrated American Writers.
On the one hand, we probably spend too much time tearing folks down. On the other hand, this is funny stuff--and while I like one poem from almost every poet he mentions, that's the only poem of theirs I like.
On the other-other hand, I wonder if I should start throwing up articles on Huff and see who reposts them.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Everyone! Come to The Best Reading (and after-party) Ever at AWP13!
Thanks to all who helped with the Kickstarter, this reading will be recorded!
The film is slated for release in May.
Readers will feature:
To get your invite and the location, email AWPsBestReading AT gmail!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
So after someone telling me that Homer and Tennyson didn't write poetry I'm wondering what it is I do then?
Not that I'm Homer and Tennyson-class--but you get the idea. Poetry has become something either indefinable or unimportant or both.
Perhaps that's why this blog (and the magazine it came from) is called "Strong Verse" not "Strong Poetry." I'm interested in the craft of writing verse, not slapping a silly "it's automatically art" label on some words.
More to it though, what's the delivery system of poetry?
Back when poetry was first created in those good old prehistorical times folks didn't read nor write--so they had to listen to a poet chant. Maybe they did it around a fire, maybe in what would become an amphitheater.
At any rate is was the voice that mattered. Folks could only see large gestures--so there could and likely would have been some motion--but an emphasis on that was what drove us to drama (the first split from poetry?).
Then along came the historical world. Folks could read--well, some of them--but performance was still king (at least if your audience was more than the king who could read anyway). But poets, who now could rely on the exobrain of paper for memorization, could devote more time to versecraft. Hence the rigor of national poetic forms.
Then came printing and the rise of literacy.
Here you have the ability of verse to reach the person interested in poetry before the poet. This creates a few problems, notably the difficulty of transmitting inflection and performance. The Beatles could create "concerts" with their Pepper-and-on albums but that's because they could record. Printed words don't carry the same weight.
Which speaking of, the rise of printing mirrored the rise of musical notation which could carry the same weight as performance. Unfortunately no such easy guide was given to the written word. Readers had to rely on a knowledge of rhyme and meter to eke out how a poem should be read (unless they were lucky enough to catch the poet--and how often did that happen? Legit question, btw).
Also now the music of poetry had to compete with the standardized (and far more performed) music of music. And drama and and and.
Then came sound recording and broadcast capabilities. While wax recordings of Tennyson exist, what is clear in them is that there's no notion of performance. He intones and warbles "Haalf a leeeague, haalf a leeague" in a rhythm familiar to many who attend contemporary poetry readings. Even the reportedly gorgeous and vivacious Edna St. Vincent Millay reads her poetry as if she's at a funeral.
Why do we think people want to listen to this?
Who has effectively recorded poetry (without music)? Garrison Keillor?
Is it really that hard or is it simply unlearned?
At any rate it hardly matters because TV (and more importantly internet distribution of video).
But where are the poets of TV? Of film?
Why did we stop in the 19th century and leave well enough alone? Did all of the folks who would have been our greatest poets just become song- and screenwriters?
Aural storytelling is powerful. Visual storytelling is powerful. Why not have some animated or even live-action recreations of poems?
We must rethink our delivery methods. Print is wonderful and powerful but we can't leave performance poetry to the performance poets and visual poetry to the avant garde.
What do you want to see as a poem?
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
What does the world of writing look like when you can pick up your poem and pass it around?
Developments like this will rend the veil between purely visual and purely linguistic art (it's difficult at this point to call such theoretical work "aural" though one would assume the proper areas of the brain will still be activated).
Who will be the first visual poet to make art from this?
Friday, February 15, 2013
So I love learning about new publications and new poets.
Saw this lovely poem in The Collagist (thanks, Sun Dog Lit!) and I had to share:
of potential humiliation. So is conversation.
This is when every girl is out of your league,
when you realize such leagues even exist.
Monday, February 11, 2013
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Here is a brief article on Sylvia Plath's final days.
I put that here, at the beginning, because it's not the drama of suicide that is important in Plath's death. Suicide is indeed terrible. Please ask someone for help. No one wants you to die.
What we lost, however, was our finest modern practitioner of the sound of the English language. Had she not killed herself, Plath would still be with us, alive and likely kicking at the ripe old age of 80.
What we have instead is a controversial collection of Plath's last work, butchered by her estranged husband, Ted Hughes, and "restored" by her daughter, Frieda. While I prefer vastly the thematic arc of her original intent (moving from "Morning Song" to The Bee Cycle, specifically ending with "Wintering": from "love" to "spring"), the "manic woman" that Plath became in the American consciousness was, essentially, cemented by Hughes.
This results in an awful lot of eye rolling when I name Plath as a great poet. People know her, if at all, as a violent, lost soul, the author of "Daddy" or "Lady Lazarus."
At Literary Magnet, my new literary magazine, I've said a bit more about the way I learned to love Sylvia Plath.
What I'd like to say here, though, is that as poets and lovers of poetry, remember the words Plath placed together. Study them. Live within those sounds--the only place she remains.
As people, simply love each other and don't, in the words of Jillian Becker, "endure long remorse" for something that could have been done.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Joshua Mehigan's "The Orange Bottle" is just fantastic.
It's got everything I've been calling for since I started this blog. It's narrative, long enough to satisfy, and plays with sound in some wonderful ways:
For instance, listen to the way Mehigan changes sound in this stanza near the poem's end:
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Now that the morning newspaper tradition is obsolete, what do you do to fill that void?
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Back in 2006, I was awarded a grant for the furtherance of poetry.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Clearly, I don't get Poetry.
A Don Share tweet led me to this poem which gave me apoplexy:
"The Gargantuan Muffin Beauty Contest."
Love is in the air, it’s in the whisper of the trees.
Which 20th Century books are more important to the West?
1900s: Heart of Darkness (1902) versus The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
1910s: Ethan Frome (1911) versus Peter and Wendy (1911)
1920s: Ulysses (1922) versus Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
1930s: Of Mice and Men (1937) versus Mary Poppins (1934)
1940s: The Stranger (1942) versus The Little Prince (1943)
1950s: The Old Man and the Sea (1951) versus The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955)
1960s: Catch-22 (1961) versus A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
1970s: Gravity's Rainbow (1973) versus The Princess Bride (1973)
1980s: Beloved (1987) versus Redwall (1984)
1990s: Infinite Jest (1996) versus Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997)
Monday, February 4, 2013
So like, people, like really like to talk about poetry being dead.
This bro is all "DAG YO, SLAMS KILL POETRY"
When what he probably really means is that a lot of performance poetry is bad.
Well, duh. A lot of poetry is bad.
A response here addresses some points, but skips over its most important one:
"poets should learn their trade."
We should ALL be excellent writers AND readers.
Look to the March 7th reading, everyone. You'll see some living poetry for sure.
What would you all think of a "graphic epic"?
That is, an illustrated verse narrative?
Do you read graphic novels?
That sort of thing?
What if the words sounded as good as the story read?
What if it also were presented in not only a static format but also like a "motion book" a la Reading Rainbow?
If you're reading this, I'd love some commentary. Don't just think it, type it!
Friday, February 1, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Now here's an interesting (paper on a) study.
Here is the actual study.
The important information (for us writers) is this:
"When thinking about a positive past event, people should be happier when they describe it using the imperfective aspect (which brings them mentally closer to it) than when using the perfective aspect. When thinking about a negative past event, people should be sadder when they describe it using the imperfective aspect (which brings them mentally nearer to it) than when using the perfective aspect."
That is--if you want to make someone feel a past emotion (or event) more keenly, use the imperfect (he was dying). If you want that to be more distant, use the perfect (he died).
Not that we don't "know" this intuitively--but we don't always create what we intuit and it's important to know from a neurological standpoint why we should make certain decisions as a writer.
Also, think about what Meursault would have been like had he said "mother was dying yesterday" instead of "mother died today." Whole different ballgame, I think.
I just read a review on a book of poetry by a mentally ill writer. I won't link it or reference it beyond the following quote:
"The arithmetic of language is unsolvable."
I sigh because this statement is nonsense. First of all, if we're going to apply the term arithmetic to language then we're going to get into linguistics which, though non-trivial, is certainly solvable.
But that's not really the point. The point is that the essay waxes philosophic about mental illness and writers and seems wholly ignorant of any current research regarding neuroscience. People with schizophrenia frequently create arresting art. Etc. etc.
If you want to know about the mind as it relates to art, I recommend starting not with philosophers, but with Iain McGilchrist's The Master and His Emissary (note: that goes to a .pdf).
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The Rigid Body
Ashland Poetry Press, $15.95
Apogee Press, $15.95
Here are two books that are radically different.
Spera's work, which I have praised before, is a lovely balance between tightness and expansiveness. Like each poem really wants to have these huge Whitmanesque lines but Spera's sensibilities rein everything in.
Unlike Standing Wave, however, Spera seems a bit freer in The Rigid Body, loosening up, namechecking works, borrowing, and generally having as good a time as he can have. Now, if you guess from his Randian Hero author photo (or is it Jobsean Hero?) or the general tenor of the poems, you might not think it's that much fun. Indeed, my one complaint is that Spera is a bit serious. But who isn't these days?
Anyway, it's a good book. My personal favorites are perhaps his two most clearly allusive poems, "The Hive" and "The Forsaken Cry." "The Hive" recalls Plath, both "Blackberrying" and The Bee Poems:
Something must've died, I figured, judging
by the orgy of fat black flies
that smudged the air. But no, they weren't flies,
but bees. . .
And "The Forsaken City" is a riff on Auden's Musee des Beaux Arts with a dash of Dante and modern torture thrown in:
About torture, they were all wrong,
the old masters, how little they understood
its tactics and procedures. . .
Get it, read it, love it.
Now, on to a book I ought not to like if you follow what I tend to say about poetry, Laura Walker's Follow-Haswed. It's an erasure book, like Ronald Johnson's Radi Os. I mention Johnson because I've not seen a better example of the style of erasure than his reduction of Paradise Lost.
Erasure is a trick, sure. But it can result in some nice literary moments. Follow-Haswed has many of these. The concept of the book is that Walker took entries from the OED between "follow" and "haswed" and erased erased erased until she came up with something rather poetic.
"go" has stuck with me:
[bees] are reddy to flye
that when they
they make a great humming
from their word
from their word
I lost him
Walker does a good job of finding the Eliot/Cummings element within the OED. As it's made up mostly of quotes supporting the usage of the words, I don't see that this is terribly surprising but, as I say, it can be nice. Indeed, I thought I would just hate the book but it rises above the cuteness of found poetry techniques to make some art.
And isn't that what good form is? One doesn't like a sonnet because it rhymes or a villanelle because it repeats lines. Nor should one like a poem because it is an anagram of Shakespeare's sonnets or something gleaned from computer printouts. One should like a poem because it's good poetry. Walker does that--and that's something to be praised.
It's insane that these poems, the correct ending of Ariel, aren't easy to find online. Here you go. NB: with the exception of the final line of "Arrival," each stanza should be five lines. Apologies to Sylvia for formatting difficulties with her longer lines.
Sylvia Plath's Bee Sequence:
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Perhaps you are familiar with the youtube sensation songs "It's so Cold in the D" or "Friday."
Like, I ain't linkin' to them. You know them anyway.
It's so Cold has over 6 million views.
Friday over 40 million.
The highest poetry video I can find? Something from Def Jam with about 2 million views.
I like poetry and all but when we can make a poetry video that gets more traction than a video ironically watched by hipsters and loved by the masses well, then we might be able to look A. Petri in the face.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Here I responded to a list of ten substandard examples of great American poetry.
I was then called out by my friends at the Cambridge Writer's Workshop to produce my own list. I ought to be wholly arrogant and just say my book, With Rough Gods, but I assume you folks are getting tired of that. Besides, there's better work than mine that was published in 2012.
So let me give my own ten reasons poetry's not dead in America, with explanations.
#10: Poetry jams/slams/open mikes.
Yes, you're going to hear a pile of offal verse at one of these. But that "pile" is the very reason poetry isn't dead in America. It may be a bit soured by our off-base educational system and the industrialization/academicization of poetry but it's alive and kicking in the trenches which is where it counts most. In a similar vein:
#9: Poetry journal slush piles.
Lit magazines get somewhere between 10-1000 times more submissions than they can publish, let alone want to publish. If we assume (from my own experience as an editor and making up numbers anyway) that 75% is crap, 20% is okay, 3% is good but doesn't work and 2% fits the publication, we can again see that folks are writing and writing and writing. Now, are they reading? Well--let's look at the best of what they have to read and then ask some questions about why they're not reading it.
#8: Broetry by Brian McGackin.
No, it's not Tennyson. But who cares? Broetry is the most fun you'll have reading poetry as an adult. It's like Shel Silverstein's Uncle Shelby books but a bit less mature and secure. Whatevs bro. Read it and have a good time. Laugh out loud when you read a poem. When's the last time you did that?
#7: Sixty Sonnets by Ernest Hilbert.
Sixty Sonnets is to Broetry as The Story of O is to Fifty Shades of Grey. They're both about the same sort of characters but Hilbert is being literary whereas McGackin is simply enjoying himself. What does this mean, exactly? It means that Sixty Sonnets, while not having as broad an appeal--and perhaps getting a chortle and not a guffaw--is more rewarding for folks that stick with it and has more lines that stick in general.
#6: Annie Finch.
Instead of including one of Annie's books, I'm just including Annie. If I had to narrow things down to books, I'd go with her two latest: Among the Goddesses and A Poet's Craft. I haven't reviewed APC yet but if you want to learn about poetry and don't need an MFA (I would like to need my MFA: anyone got a spare low res job?) you'd do better with your money to buy A Poet's Craft and go to conferences. Anyway, Among the Goddesses is a book you can give to a wide swath of people who are interested in literature and get them to realize that narrative has a place in poetry. Wonderfully good stuff and we are indebted to the good Dr. Finch and her work in and with American poetry.
#5: Ludlow by David Mason.
Narrative poetry is the best selling poetry in America. That's because narrative poetry includes books like Ellen Hopkins' Crank. Now, Crank is not good poetry but Ludlow is. And, at least last I heard, Ludlow does very well for Red Hen Press (more on them later) and Mr. Mason (unless it's Dr.--let me know, y'all). But the book is good for poetry. It's a good story. It's good verse. It's a great read.
#4: Red Hen and Cooper Dillon Presses and CPRW and E-Verse Radio (and those like them).
Red Hen Press is undoubtedly the best small press for poetry in the US. Their books are of consistently high quality and, even better, books of poetry you want to read.
Cooper Dillon Press is my favorite micropress and one of the best. Each book they put out (3ish a year) is fantastic AND Adam Deutsch's outlook on editing and publishing is refreshing.
CPRW is "the best damn poetry review online." Excusing natural bias, I implore you to take a look at Garrick Davis's wonderful production of reviews, analysis, and excellent thinking on poetry in America--you'll see it's alive and well.
E-Verse Radio is an eclectic collection of music, poetry, stories, and lists. One gets the idea that it's what a modern literary magazine ought to be. I hope that more journals like it take root.
There are literally hundreds of small and micropresses and wonderfully quirky literary American journals out there. The problem is not one of existence but of distribution and advertising. I think this is in part because as intellectuals we overvalue our own knowledge and not the advice of ad/PR people who are, of course, inherently evil. But maybe that's just me projecting.
#3: Writer's Workshops, Conferences, and MFA programs.
Look, I know that these are just as much a part of the problem as they are part of the solution. But you can't discount the power of the "po-biz." Do I think that these outlets and conduits could be better arranged to serve poetry and the people and not poets and pocketbooks? Absolutely. But there are programs out there that, at least as far as I can tell, do this. Even a corporo-advertising behemoth like AWP is full of greatness if you're willing to separate the wheat from the chaff.
#2: Harlot by Jill Alexander Essbaum.
I debated just saying "Jill Alexander Essbaum" but I really, really want you folks to read Harlot. Maybe with a huge phallus and naked lady on the cover it's not for everyone. But really it is. I don't think there's an adult who has breathed who can't identify with the words between its sheets.
#1: Olives by A.E. Stallings.
This book is so good it hurts. If I were Bill Gates rich, my foundation would buy copies of this for all of you. I would call Amazon and say "hey, tell me how much it would be to send a copy of Olives to everyone who has ever bought anything from you guys" and then gladly pay it. While Olives isn't perfect as a book of poetry--it requires the reader to have a familiarity with poetry and so, like Harlot, isn't perhaps the first book of poetry one should read--it is as close as a book has gotten in decades. When I read Olives, I felt precisely like Peter Buck as he wrote regarding song "Crazy" by Pylon:
"I remember hearing their version on the radio the day that Chronic Town came out and suddenly being depressed by how much better it was than our record."
Read Olives. Read everything on this list. Go to every event. Participate in poetry. You'll see it's alive and well--and by these very actions its readership and influence will grow and bloggers won't feel the need to declaim its death.
Well, folks--we got funded.
While that's not enough to add a professional photographer or fly in a special guest, it ought to be enough to throw a heck of a party.
Start your Kickstarters, people. Get literature done.
Friday, January 25, 2013
So everyone's getting in on the Petri act (indeed, I was a day late).
The folks at Flavorwire have weighed in as well.
The problem is, as near as I can tell, most, if not all of those books suck.
Now granted, I don't have a copy of any of them in front of me--but what I can glean from Amazon and Google is that they're filled with the everyday sort of poetry one finds so forgettable--the kind of verse Petri was (rightly, though impolitely) complaining about.
Indeed, the first book is praised for "stalks the borderlands of English and Spanish, fabulist and realist, here and there, with a backpack filled with shifting identifications — Chicano, gay, abnormal — that spill out into the sand" which tells me that the writer for Flavorwire is apparently more interested in people and labels than poetry.
Now, I'll say that I at least found the Powell and Dennigan books interesting enough that I'm leaving their names here so I can remember to look up the works more in depth--but really, all that claptrap is forgettable goo.
Now, maybe it appeals to poets--but Petri's entire point is that poetry is irrelevant outside of the world of poetry.
Praising books that answer to that call is not helping anyone.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
From teh Popez:
"The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young," Benedict said in his message. "Social networks are the result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is therefore the prerequisite for a significant presence there."
Yes, that's right.
Poetry should--poetry MUST--sound good. Even if it's never read aloud.
Why, you ask?
Well, just read this nice sciency article on how we read "silently."
It's not terribly new information (though this study may be a more definitive presentation than previous speculations) but it's terribly important to remember:
When we read we speak internally. Poetry is inherently an aural art form. We cannot forget this.
One good thing about the Coronation of Obama I (when did this become such a thing? Bush II?) is that, owing to the inclusion of an inaugural poet, folks are talking about poetry, even if to decry its usefulness.
In that vein, I'm sure you've already read the engineered-to-get-all-ten-million-US-poets-to-generate-ad-revenue hit piece on poetry by one Alexandra Petri.
Ms Petri's first relevant piece of information:
"There are about six people who buy new poetry, but they are not feeling very well. I bumped very lightly into one of them while walking down the sidewalk, and for a while I was terrified that I would have to write to eleven MFA programs explaining why everyone was going to have to apply for grants that year. The last time I stumbled upon a poetry reading, the attendees were almost without exception students of the poet who were there in the hopes of extra credit. One of the poems, if memory serves, consisted of a list of names of Supreme Court justices. I am not saying that it was a bad poem. It was a good poem, within the constraints of what poetry means now. But I think what we mean by poetry is a limp and fangless thing.