I'd actually run across this article from a link in a post "The Seven Poetic Sins, or: Jorie Graham's Disease," in the samizdat blog. Archambeau noticed that Guriel had listed seven poetic "clichés of the moment." He pulled these out and listed them by number. These are:
1. "reliance on buzzwords" (think: absence, abjection, the body, ellipsis, etc.)
2. "distrust of order" (as both theme and compositional principle)
3. "distrust of linearity and having a point" (call it Ashberying)
4. "anxiety over what words mean" (or, I'd add, the pose of anxiety)
5. "romantic bluster" (think Hart Crane on a bad day)
6. "imprecision" (I bet a comparison of contemporary poetic syntax and that of Swinburne would be instructive)
7. "sympathy for small critters" (I think this one's pretty self-explanatory)
(I urge you to read the whole article to see the longer explanation of each of these)
I find it a fascinating list, in that I had no idea that these were the cliches of contemporary poetry. Perhaps that just shows how unfamiliar I am with contemporary poetry, and why so much contemporary poetry leaves me with a "huh?" feeling: I can't even recognize the tropes.
So, what do you think? Are these really cliches of contemporary poetry? Or just a set of specific dislikes of the reviewer? Are there other cliches we're missing?
And, are cliches bad? If they are bad, can we still revitalize them, find new juice in old withered corpses? Or do we have to leave the alone, let them ferment for a while, before they can be fresh again?