amongst books

amongst books

Friday, September 08, 2006

Nasty Reviews or the dog days of summer or tilting at windmills

For want of anything local to put up, have you seen this? and the response? So Carmine Starnino doesn't like experimental poetry and experimentalists don't care for the stuff he likes. So what? I enjoy a good dog fight as much as the next guy, but I wonder if slagging one another's choices really serves the literary community well. Does it make people purchase a book of poems who otherwise might not or do they just walk away shaking their heads in be/a/musement at the emo kids and their little hijinks?

I have a copy of Shift and Switch and I like some of it. I have a copy of the New Canon and I like some of that. The difference to me between experimental and more traditional forms of poetry is that the former accepts the notion of trial and error and failure, while the latter is focussed on perfection. I'm intimidated by the latter and comforted by the former. I liked the notion that S&S wasn't a judgement but was rather a snapshot of a moment in time to document history.
There are poems in S&S that have inspired me to try experiments of my own.

It takes bravery to put words out on paper, but if the Don Quixotes of the literary community insist on publicly mocking and insulting types of poetry they don't like, and worse yet, getting paid for these reviews, are we better off? I don't see the benefit to anyone, neither the poets nor the community at large. The general public certainly doesn't give a tinker's dam-- it just confirms their prejudices about poets and poetry: it's obscure, and the participants are a bunch of emotional snivelers who wear black turtle necks.

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