Friday, June 19, 2015
The Fatal Problem With Poetry
In ninth grade English Mrs X required us to memorise and recite a poem and so I asked the Topeka High librarian to direct me to the shortest poem she knew and she suggested Marianne Moore’s ‘Poetry’, which, in the 1967 version, reads in its entirety:
I, too, dislike it.
Reading it, however, with a perfect
contempt for it, one discovers in
it, after all, a place for the genuine.
Ben Lerner stares into the mire of futility and falsehood that is poetry: “What if we dislike or despise or hate poems because they are—every single one of them—failures? … The fatal problem with poetry: poems. This helps explain why poets themselves celebrate poets who renounce writing.”
The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau