Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Can't there be something great in the sheer number of poets working today? Can it be like a fabulous bazaar, poems bunched and offered like flowers-- exotic sellers, startling colors?

It doesn't feel like that now. Diffusion. Too diffuse.

As though I walked into the drug store and saw 10,000 different brands of shampoo. So many options I don't feel delighted by the choice. Instead the suspicion all shampoo is the same. Too many choices, creating the feeling of sameness? How does that work?

Also something autistic about the circles of writers. Backs turned out to the readers, faces turned to each other.

Looking for a way to make a really joyful noise.


  1. I've been feeling this way lately, too, diving into all these collections of poetry- there's so much similar poetry out there, wanting to be different, individuated, but all winding up the same. Nicely put.

  2. Thanks. I still don't know for myself if I've put it the way I mean, but glad it made sense.

  3. There has always been the same number of poets working out their. It's just easier to get published now. If it's mediocre put it down QUICK no matter how much you paid for it. There simply isn't enough time for bad poetry.

  4. Do you think so? I actually feel like there are more-- a result of the proliferation of MFA programs, writing groups, etc. On the one hand, I feel as though that should be a good thing. But then on the other hand, it isn't working out that way.

  5. When I was young before the poetry MFA was invented everyone I knew was writing. My circle of friends were all poets. No one was getting published but we were writing like mad and exchanging poems and talking about poetry and reading poetry. We were there. The internet gives everyone voice makes people visible that would be writing in their bedrooms at night. Nothing really changes in the arts. It cycles in and cycles out. That's why a good history class is gold if you want to keep at it :)


  6. Hello Beloved Snail

    What you say here is so true, it's poignant.

    The old adage 'spoiled for choice' is one that speaks potently to so many areas of life these days. Our culture of 'too much, too loud, too fast' is, I think, a kind of back-to-front call to us all to pare things back, cut away the fat, skim the excess off. There is beauty in bounty but it's so often lost beneath the 'too muchness' of it all?

    Wishing you the best of days, Claire