April 21, 2010

Popular Poetry in a Poetically Illiterate Society

My response to The Best-Seller Babe: Amazon + The Poetry Foundation Duke Out Poetry

Billy Collins isn't the problem. The problem is that he is all we have. Maya Angelou, too, is not a poet's poet. Like Collins, she avoids forms and writes easy poems. This is not suggesting these are not skilled poets, but they offer the reader few challenges. The reader, unfortunately, isn't seeking to be challenged.

There are few opportunities for public poetry. We need to make the most of them. The travesty of the Presidential Inauguration poem was that, frankly, the poem stunk. No, this isn't Obama's fault or a political statement. However, on the grandest stage for poetry, nothing happened worth remembering.

Literary publications are too academic and inbred, or too unprofessional, willing to publish anything. There are good publications, like Poetry Magazine, and other pubs like the New Yorker buying poetry each month. What if newspapers bought and published something in between Collins and TS Eliot?


Brockeim: Reviews, Romance, Poetry, Coffee

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