Saturday, April 14, 2007
in describing the reading last night, I didn't mean to shortchange the readers. I felt like I should wear a smoking jacket and drink brandy from a snifter in that room. except for some sonic interference by vacuum cleaners, tho, the room was a good place to hear poetry read; acoustics were good. it is rather depressing how little of British, as well as Canadian, poetry that I know. maybe I didn't make it clear that the Chicago Review presented British poetry as a special focus, hence this reading. included in the journal was a diagram of the various groups that make up British poetry, according to Andrew Duncan. the poets themselves lambasted this preposterous sorting of names into "logical" aesthetic groupings. various logics, like the Cambridge School (being, I assume, poets associated with that institution), neo-objectivist, feminist. it's all pretty loopy and way too simplified. where would you situate a neo-objectivist feminist from Cambridge, and what have you got when you do? the 3 poets who read were diverse enough aesthetically. I would say all three are literary in approach, if that means anything. I think I mean a reliance on literary context, which may be a way of saying that they all three have read widely and include that reading at some level, consciously even, in their work. and I think that means an injection of formal scholarship in their education. thus the dense discussion that arose after the reading. the venue provided a weird quality to the event. the poets agitating language into new vibrations seemed at odds with the sanctified sprawling comfort of that fortress of fast learning.