Monday, February 15, 2010

Brow Beat : Can New Yorker Poets Write About Anything Besides Poetry?

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Slate's Browbeat section does a telling survey of the New Yorker's habit of publishing poems that are about poetry, about reading, about writing, in one fashion or another. I read with particular interest, as poems about poetry has been one of my specialized gripes for years. At this point , a blogger focusing on covering the rants on poetry blogs might write a screed against rants-against-poems-about-poetry, citing a series of links to my repetitive missives as especially grouchy examples. I've tempered my protests lately, though, as it the the tendency for poets to reflect upon their own form and their relevance to the world they live in is firmly established in world literary history; although it bugs me still, I have to admit that I am subject to slipping under the conceits of earlier Modernist manifestos that appointed their authors as those who would erase history and recreate the way we see the world. I would hope most of us have learned some bitter lessons about ignoring history, even at this level. You can attempt to persuade folks, yes, but you really can't force them to like something they're not inclined by personality to enjoy, and you can't force the correctness of your opinion on them. Anyway, my grievances are a matter of record on this blog, and I invite you to enjoy the article and the ensuing discussion stream.