Tuesday, August 10, 2010

WHY POETRY DOES NOT REALLY EXIST IN THE UNITED STATES

ONE I noticed a flier for something that sounds truly revolting as the old comedian might have said: THE ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS PRESENTS THE 2010 POETS FORUM and then the listing of the verse makers is even more revolting: Anne Carson Ron Padgett Victor Hernández Cruz Marie Ponsot Marilyn Hacker Carl Phillips Lyn Hejinian Robert Pinsky Edward Hirsch Kay Ryan Galway Kinnell Gerald Stern Khaled Mattawa Susan Stewart Naomi Shihab Nye C.K. Williams Sharon Olds.

TWO It will cost $110 dollars to attend all the events. I have left out the list of the “critics” and others--- ass kissers to the post--- who will talk in a language ever more remote from the trivial squeaking of the carefully multi-ethnic- gendered-balanced verse makers.

THREE I’ll except Anne Carson---though the more Carson appears in public the more she diminishes her claim to my attention and maybe Ron Padgett though in the latter case I am dreading the probable forthcoming collected works which will run for many hundreds of pages… all reminding one of his attachment to the so-called New York school presided over by XandYandZ or should it be AandB andC? but of the others: have they in their collective endeavors which must now amount to thousands of pages of “verse” come up with a line that moves over ever so slightly slightly the line of T.S. Eliot, “April is the cruelest month” or even approached within a mile the memorable title of Eliot’s THE HOLLOW MEN… most of these “poets” are on the academic gravy train with six figure salaries for doing remarkably little--- a couple of hours a week preparing candidates for the gravy train… they are all in Flann O’Brien’s phrase members of the “standing army of American poets”… ever prepared to collaborate with the powers to be and never more fervently with the current regime in Washington, collaborators with the status quo, ever remarkable for the banality of their “verse”…. ever prepared to take part in “discussions” with each other and the other writers of “verse”… now that there are no longer any readers of “verse.” In the announcement there is mention of previous years when verse makers such as Gluck, Bidart, Hass, Dove were present though one can be sure that their spirits will also be present…

5 comments:

Steve Finnell said...
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springandall said...

I can't help but agree with your acidic observations on the state of poetry, but you are all too knowingly cute when you attribute the quote on the standing army of poets to your revered master Flann O'Brien when I know you know the quotation applies to Irish poets, an anecdote reported by the poet and memoirist Anthony Cronin in Dead as Doornails (1976)and attributed to Patrick Kavanagh.

Thomas McGonigle said...

Caught out but one can well imagine the contempt Flann O'Brien would have for what he might have labeled the toothless horde of American poets... as we know he rightly suspected that American academics created Mr Joyce's FW to keep themselves busy

springandall said...

toothless is better than standing

Anonymous said...

If it's not your cup of tea, why don't you organize your own poetry reading? Sounds like sour grapes to me.