Monday, May 03, 2010

Poetry and the Political

Great article written by David Biespiel. Check it out:

Now consider the balkanized world of American poetry. Like Americans everywhere, America's poets have turned insular and clustered in communities of aesthetic sameness, communicating only among those with similar literary heroes, beliefs, values, and poetics. Enter any regional poetry scene in any American metropolis or college town, and you will find the same cliquey village mentality with the same stylistic breakdowns. Over here you have the post-avant prose poets, over there the kitchen-sink confessionalists, and across the road are the shiny formalists--and no one ever breaks bread together. As with politics, where you have "I'm voting for That One" liberals and "Time for a Tea Party" conservatives, poetry has evolved into a self-selected enclave, and also--exactly like other sectors of American life--it has stratified into enclaves within enclaves that are hyper-specific and self-referential.


Collin Kelley said...

I'm sure there will be a blog post or article coming soon about how poets should avoid politics, because "most poets don't do politics very well." I can't even count how many articles and blogposts I've read about how poets should steer clear of politics. The line of thinking on this is like the weather...wait a couple minutes and it changes.

Brian Campbell said...

Thanks for pointing me to this article, Peter. Something of this fragmentation exists in Canada, although not to the same degree perhaps because our numbers are not so large as to create such exclusive aesthetic communities. We don't have the same extreme polarization in our political sphere as well -- nor the echo-chamber effect of right and left media.