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Saturday, October 14, 2017


I'm afraid I've been outdone in the bad poetry department. Rupi Kaur is a best selling poet who gets defended in the Guardian like this:

As a young woman of colour in a world where white, male delectations are treated as the definitive barometer of taste, Kaur speaks a truth that the literary establishment is unlikely to understand. Even the most sincere critique of her work can slide from healthy debate into vicious attack at the turn of a page. But to read Kaur’s success as an omen of the death of poetry would be to unfairly dismiss writing that contains bravery, beauty and wisdom. Frankly, the literary world is saturated with white male voices of dubious quality. Kaur’s poetry should be given the same freedom to be flawed.

This is specious reasoning. Yes, I think Billy Collins is vile too, so I should give Kaur "the same freedom to be flawed"?  But what does "flawed" mean here? Surely Kaur does deserve vicious attacks, and it is an insult to every female poet and every non-white poet to wrap the defense of her in the oppositional rhetoric of "white male" taste.  A typical Kaur poem goes like this:  "“If you are not enough for yourself / you will never be enough / for someone else".  

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