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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Saturday, March 12, 2016


Anyway, this diary of poems I am writing was inspired by Haryette Mullen's Urban Tumbleweed, though I anticipate that what it will express has nothing to do with that admirable book. The idea is a simple one: to simply write down short poem-like things as they occur to me throughout the year, then select those I think are meaningful to me at the end. They can be snippets of a translation, or whatever. It might not last all year, because attention span.

For me, worrying about whether I am a good poet is counter-productive. In the first place, it's not for me to say, or for anyone to say about their own work. Let's just say there is a high probability of error, because few poets are any good. It doesn't improve your work to think about that too much, anyway. It's a kind of egotistical game. Of course, deep down I know I am a better poet than a lot of people who think they are ok writers. And here I am doing the exact thing I've said is useless: thinking about that at all.


Leslie said...

Angola 4 PM

Orig. (what I wrote to someone): Wives but especially parents laughing brightly, keeping a stiff upper lip as they leave. Then, that somber drive home.

Version 1 (after having been informed it was a poem):

Wives, but especially parents laughing brightly,
keeping a stiff upper lip as they leave.
Then that somber drive home.

I could enjamb it but that is so precious, imitative, derivative.

(Angola is LSP-Angola.)

Jonathan said...

You're right that enjambment would be an amateurish move there. With found fragments that's a cliché. The way it unfolds is already perfect without that redundant emphasis.