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.

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