Friday 4 May 2012

Conformity and success - some poetry articles

Jon Stone's Pluralism versus Selectivity considers some pros and cons of ecumenical anthologies. Todd Swift wrote of "Identity Parade" that "What is odd is how this compression of talent ... manages to diminish even the larger figures in the midst of the pack, who feel a bit crushed in the crowd" and David Kennedy wrote that "anthologies with a relatively small number of poets tend to reflect exhaustion, a coming conservatism, or a combination of both".

Marjorie Perloff's Poetry on the Brink: Reinventing the Lyric looks at how "The demand for a certain kind of prize-winning, ‘well-crafted’ poem has produced extraordinary uniformity", how new names replace old names, though the poetry's the same. "the lack of consensus about the poetry of the postwar decades has led not, as one might have hoped, to a cheerful pluralism animated by noisy critical debate about the nature of lyric, but to the curious closure exemplified by the Dove anthology"

She adds that "the poems you will read in American Poetry Review or similar publications will, with rare exceptions, exhibit the following characteristics: 1) irregular lines of free verse, with little or no emphasis on the construction of the line itself ...; 2) prose syntax with lots of prepositional and parenthetical phrases, laced with graphic imagery or even extravagant metaphor ...; 3) the expression of a profound thought or small epiphany"

Peter Riley's Poetry Prize Culture and the Aberdeen Angus also identifies a formula for success - "the first-person singular is very prominent as mediator between the poem’s material and the reader. ... the poetry is basically subjective and the process at work is, typically, one of internalisation ... an insistent metaphorism, sometimes remote but generally clever or arty ... initial obliquity, teasing the reader with an almost riddle-like opening which is later solved ... the avoidance of idiolect or dialect, as too of disrupted syntax, neologisms, references beyond the cultural sphere, and avoidance indeed of any serious degree of abstract thought ... heavy end-rhyming, argumentation, or flashy displays of street-wise contemporaneity"

No comments:

Post a Comment