Tuesday, June 01, 2004

This question of poetry exorcising demons is a bothersome one, if only because it seems doomed to be the way a majority of our contemporaries define and understand the craft. That sentence is a mess already since Jorge rightly points out there's hardly a cent of craft in the rambling blather that constitutes therapeutic poetry--the supreme fiction, as Stevens would have it. I say, of course, this notion is an insult to the art, and interestingly, a direct result of the ego-fanatical self- aggrandizing horseshit we've seen in the 150 years of misconstrued romanticism thru the confessional and into our current bastions of pithy me me me hacks which make a bad name for MFA programs and the art in general. The first problem seems to me the utter lack of imaginative ability to allow a poem much if any remove from the poet who's actually writing. Here one might enter a debate about sincerity, but I doubt any serious writer would be bothered by that question since anyone committed to good writing from any point of view has already taken a faithful step beyond that child's-play. I don't wish to denigrate some poor tortured soul who wishes to take comfort in a couplet of Longfellow or a few lines of Collins, but ultimately 'relief thru writing' is not what we're after. "Relief" only tends to reconfirm simple truths and does little for the radical potential of the imagination poetic language can lead us to.


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