Why is Modern Poetry so Bad?
According to Ron Charles in the Washington Post's style blog, Harper's magazine just hit the stands with a 6,000 word essay by Mark Edmondson, "Poetry Slam, or, The Decline of American Verse" asking that very question.
“oblique, equivocal, painfully self-questioning . . . timid, small, in
retreat . . . ever more private, idiosyncratic, and withdrawn.”
Hit 'em, Professor Mark! “They simply aren’t good enough. They don’t slake a reader’s thirst for
meanings that pass beyond the experience of the individual poet and
light up the world we hold in common.”
“'You must play the game that is there to be played,' Edmundson writes.
To get the fellowship, the first book, the teaching job, the new poet 'had best play it safe, offend none.'”
I don't think he's been to Cleveland, but hey, can't be everywhere.
With their insistence on
the impermeable barriers of race, gender and class, these liberal
post-modernists keep anyone from saying anything about anything but his
own private world. “How dare a white male poet speak for anyone but
himself. . . . How can he raise his voice above a self-subverting
So, are modern poets bad? Or just the ones published in the reviews that Edmondson reads?
-and, ha! Barely has the Charles article hit the web, then the huff responds with an article by Seth Abramson, "Why Is Contemporary Poetry So Good?"
Olbviously he must read different poets than Edmundson!