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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...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

When we say we don't understand a poet

There are poets I don't understand. By this I don't mean not understanding the words of poem, or being not able to interpret the meaning of the words. It's more that I don't get what the poet is trying to do, or why they are writing the way they do. I have this problem with contemporary British poets often. I just don't get it. I'm sure many have felt this way about Creeley as well. It is an understanding of the aesthetic intention. In this sense poets teach us how to read them: we have to just keep reading until we have learned.

Another thing is not liking a poet in one's own group. Say, if one liked all the New York School poets but didn't get one or to of them.  Or a poet one is supposed to like, but doesn't.

2 comments:

Leslie said...

So refreshing, all of this.

Thomas said...

Me, ten years ago:

"I've been having a hard time with Barrett Watten's "Progress". ... But I'm starting to see what [he] was trying to do, and what he may have accomplished for his readers at the time. I may yet come around."