Thursday, June 20, 2013

Harper's asks: Why is Modern Poetry so Bad?

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 ever more private, idiosyncratic, and withdrawn.”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 whisper?” 

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!

Let's fight!


Geoffrey A. Landis said...

... and Daniel Nester criticizes it paragraph-by-paragraph:

I personally think that any poet writing poetry about "Sloop John B" and "a poem that centers around Airport ’75, the disaster movie," written in the voice of Dean Martin, is a poet who should be ignored with great vigor, but what the heck. His critique is nice and snarky; I like that.

Geoffrey A. Landis said...

Oh, and a much longer and more thoughtful commentary by A.E.M. Baumann: poetrydailycritique.blogspot.com/2013/06/poetry-slam-or-decline-of-american_19.html


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