Thursday, June 27, 2013

My two cents on the "Poetry Slam" article in HARPER'S.

The article in Harper's is written by an English professor at the University of Virginia. And it's essentially someone adopting a rebel-in-academia stance venting about poets (Merwin, Muldoon, Graham etc.) being too "opaque and evasive" when writing at length, not to mention not writing verse more actively engaged with the modern world as it is.

At the same time, Adrienne Rich is downgraded by Mr. Edmundson for not having enough of "the gift of artful expression" and giving audiences "eloquent, polemical prose." Notice the slap of the word "prose" in his quote.

It's an essay that seeks to slaughter sacred cows (Edmundson's comments about the homogenizing effect of MFA programs on poetry match up with what Billy Collins said a few years back at a Skirball Center reading in West L.A.), but also proving that Mark Edmondson doesn't want to take any time looking at small presses and lesser-known print and online journals to familiarize himself with men and women that aren't Household Names in the world of poetry (a la Brendan Bernhard's article in LA WEEKLY about fourteen years earlier).

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