Friday, March 9, 2012

The Atlantic Tells us "Why Poetry Should Be More Playful"

Is it really true that "As verse becomes increasingly dry, it's getting more and more irrelevant"?
Is verse becoming increasingly dry?
Well, maybe so. Says Noah Berlatsky in the Atlantic:
"...there doesn't have to be an absolute division between serious poetry and lighter verse. And yet, in practice, the two traditions have diverged radically, as the serious, high-art poetry tradition has retreated into the halls of academia, closed the doors, and then triple-locked them. Even New York school poets like Kenneth Koch and Frank O'Hara, who put a premium on wit and humor not that far divorced from someone like Ogden Nash, do so in a way designed to alienate as large a public as possible."

(... on the other hand, maybe Berlatsky should go to a Lix 'n kix reading some time, or maybe check out tonight's Deep Cleveland reading, to cure him of thinking that poetry is "increasingly dry.")


Elizabeth Barrette said...

It is not the mood that matters, so much as the relevance. Poetry may be humorous or serious, so long as it connects with the reader. It should also be entertaining. Dry academic poetry tends to bore people, which makes them avoid it outside of class assignments. This is sensible of them. There are plenty of better things to read than bad poems. It would be nice if more of those things were good poems.

Poets should write about things that matter to their intended audience, in terms that are charming without being opaque.

Geoffrey A. Landis said...

I do write quite a bit of light verse, but as I look over my files, I see that my funny stuff is much harder to place than serious stuff.
Of course, the best place for funny poetry is markets like Reader's Digest, which millions of people read. But these are a bit harder to sell to than where I usually place poems.

michael salinger said...

"Poets should write about things that matter to their intended audience"

interesting - I believe a poet should write about things that interest themselves in a way that interests their audience.


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau