Friday, February 29, 2008

is there no orthodoxy in poetry, whether it be avant or mainstream? and what do those terms mean when it seems there is much cross-pollination thru the web?

today reading a british poet-blogger who wondered aloud if younger poets read both larkin and ginsberg since many writers appear comfortable with both formal writing and experimental practices.

and my gut reaction to that is a resounding yes. at least for me. i've never had difficulty admiring poems by richard wilbur and by jackson mac low. i've no idea what it all means but i find there is so much nourishment to be by enriched that worrying about fitting any sort of conceptions of writing is rather foolish.

i've even come up with my own label which i know sucks but it works just the same: alt-lyric poet. well, why not. if there can be alt-music which is still pop, or alt-cinema which is still moving images on a screen to tell a story, then an alternative lyric writing is possible.

but fuck it. only when one worries about fitting in to this dubious historical era do labels seem to matter. the use of labels for poets is similar to when we learn how to diagram a sentence in grade school. it certainly helps when we are starting to write, but when the rules of grammar and sentence structure are internalized we spend the rest of our lives writing to forget the rules.


At 11:03 PM, Blogger Clifford Duffy said...

alt-avant orthodox. alt_over the docks. its all goo.d. i once coined the phrase Pragmantics! to describe what me thought I was writing back then. then. back. then. ya dig? love ya mate. snow bellows here. 22 below. dig that . for orthodox winter.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger GJPW said...

Hi Richard,

I don't know if I'm a "younger" poet anymore. But I definitely love both Larkin and Ginsberg. They balance each other out beautifully.

I find the post-avant obsession with ideological & aesthetic purity to be reactionary. "Revolutionary" parlor games.

I think poetry thrives on promiscuity. The less purity, the better.


At 11:11 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

damn cliff that's the fucking arctic! dig the term 'pragmatics' a bit of james? also sounds like a punk band. like the plazmatics. oh wendy o.

absolutely agree guillermo. i'm not a younger writer no more too. i suppose i can trace my own thoughts of the futility of labels with my love of thom gunn who adored both duncan, fulke greville, ben jonson and bunting. and didn't find nothing contradictory in his own loves.

what is purity anyway? i love how poetry sleeps around!


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