Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Silliman writes of his enormous collection of contemporary chapbooks, 7' of them. I have perhaps 3', which seems like scads. I wonder how many of them he reads for pleasure, how many for use, and how many just to be up on things. that last category is the least interesting to me, tho I don't suggest that it can't be highly interesting and useful for Silliman. personally, I find the category of Poetry limiting. that is, the issues concerning poetry as poetry--I mean poetry qua poetry--seem unbearably stuck in time, id est popular tastes. you know, where once it was Romantic poetry, or Beat, now LANGUAGE is the beat. I would sooner see the categories washed away. when other times and cultures are considered, the newness of the contemporary new seems a lot less new. I'm not debunking contemporary work, just see it as part of a larger concern of writing. I mean, what the hell IS a failed poet (however frivolously that term may have been wielded)? unpublished? unread? incompetent? I think a failed poet is one who doesn't write. if a poet feels that he or she does what is given to him or her, I think the term failure can't be used. not to say I have to like that work.
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