Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Jorge, I understand the point you are trying to make, but I'm not sure I agree. For one thing, I don't think ever before have there been so many journals solely devoted to poetry. So, no, I don't think in the UK in 1819 or any other time for that matter was there so much shitty poetry, even in proportion to the amount of it being published.

But all of that aside, if as you say, there are only a couple of poems worth reading per issue, who is buying these magazines? Are their suscribers entirely made up of dissatisfied but this-is-the-best-we-can-expect readers. A depressing thought, but it is perhaps slightly less depressing than the idea of enthusiastic fans.

It is certainly possible that we are being too hard on poetry but not very much so. I would think that the more irrelevant poetry becomes to society at large, the more it is obligated to at least attain to some high aesthetic standards, otherwise there is nothing at all holding it together. The only options seem to be to either put poetry back on the public radar (an unlikely prospect) or to have some pretty high expectations of it. And probably even to acheive the former you would need the latter.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Ok. Thought this might be fun. Came home all caffeined up and spat out a poem. So I'll post it below and you can critique or edit or do what you will. I'm sure there are things I would change if I sat and thought on it, and it'll be interesing to see if you focus on the same things. I spent about five minutes writing it, so I won't really care if you guys rip it apart:

I wanted to keep bottle up in air as long as possible
Not against floral patterned backdrop,
But you better be when I get back or I won’t be will I?
In atrium’s aquatic grape lights,
The more intimate original,
An argument I cannot possibly win.
Perhaps you weren’t giving the night sky your full attention because your eyes were
Distracted. But I was a clean slate,
A thing of the past.
Who else would dazzle us wearing three outfits at the same party?
When I leave the room, is this religion coincidence?
You asleep, blue baby in the Virgin’s arms?
Could be hiding beneath otherwise smooth skin.
I didn’t do any dropping in,
Transparency of the damp base of the tooth,
My nameless crocodile.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Hey, I'm back.

It IS depressing, though, isn't it? Reading poetry journals, I mean. I find very little poetry I like, and still less that really fires me up. I guess this is just the way it is. I mean, if you were to try and compile the Greatest (so as not to step on Houghton Mifflin's toes) American Poetry 1954-2004, how many poems would you actually have?

To say that the great majority of poetry published is crap, which may be true, may also be unfair. After all, if we were to have all (and I mean ALL) of the poetry written in France in 1920, or in Britain in 1819, or here in the States in 1963, I think we would find lots of crap. And that's not to say that these poems are irrelevant, or meaningless, or that their authors ought not to have ever even written them. But it is to say that perhaps the best you can hope for (considering editorial tastes and the large, diffusing number of journals) is a maybe one or two pleasing poems in a journal?

Are we being too hard on poetry, especially considering that the bulk of poetry written, by us or anyone else, is not that good, or at least, not that interesting to those of unlike aesthetic tastes? I don't mean to sound like a relativist, because if you want my honest opinion, the bulk of what I find in journals, from the loftiest, most storied journals to the most unknown magazines, is crap.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

No! Not even journals which take my work... which makes me worry. I still like Conduit quite a bit, though it too has several unfortunate moments.

Why don't we trade a few poems via e-mail? That way if we don't like we can tell each other. Let me know.