Friday, October 06, 2006

Charles Jensen asks whether poetry has genres anymore. Not the way we did when Masefield was writing, no. But there are tendencies... We've been calling them schools, I think -- performance, narrativist, theoretico-critical, New York.

And then there are the evergreen conceits -- the "Not x, not y, not z, a, or b" poem-of-small-importance, the dead animal elegy, the "this Connecticut landscape would have pleased Vermeer" piece.

I would phrase the question this way: can you think of different kinds of poems that consistently imply the same contract with the reader? or do all these different poems make different promises.

No, actually I'd drop the questions altogether: the premium on originality (make it new) has put a discount on familiarity (rhyme, but really any form of predictability) at the expense of the emotional need for consistency.

Jordan - #




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