Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

In the new Poetry

I found the editorial to be rather interesting this month. "In Praise of Rareness" argues that perhaps editors should publish less poetry. And for the most part, I agree. If you've ever picked up a Collected by a favorite poet and then realized that you've read their best work in the anthologies, then you'll know what he's talking about. He claims that "regular people" (those not involved in the writing poetry life) have singular favorite poems rather than favorite authors.

What do you think? Do you feel cheated by the 10 poems that comprise this month's edition? Or do the drawings make up for it?

But then I think about all the wonderous variety of poetry that doensn't always find a home and I sometimes wish to take more chances with what I read and accept.

And I learn from the poems I read, even if they're not the best-of-the-century quality. I listen to the voices; I look at the trends; I listen for music in a poet's work; I look for poets to go on my "watch list," a list I keep of younger poets whose work demonstrates a spark, a hint, a whisper that they will have more to say.

Should we not comb the haystack?


Glenn Ingersoll said...

God, I am so sick of the notion that the best collection of poems is the thinnest. It sounds to me like another way of saying I DON'T LIKE POETRY. Then fucking don't read it! Or dump the book you're not enjoying and move over to one you might.

I read the first couple issues of Wiman's editorship at Poetry and I thought he was an improvement over Joseph Parisi. Parisi's choices were gawdawful. "If Poetry were poetry I would not read poetry," I would say to myself when reading Parisi's Poetry. So I haven't been reading Wiman's Poetry but I KNOW that he is rejecting work as good as or better than what he is publishing. I know because I've done stints as an editor. Poetry has published so much crap that the thought Wiman can't allow something in that isn't of the super highest quality is so laughable my laugh is already tired from thinking about how goddamn much laughing it would have to do to do it justice. Wiman has so many resources at that uberwealthy Poetry perch that the idea that he's helpless before the little pile of ore he had to sift to find his gems is ... choke ... galling. He could commission a thousand translations, for instance.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Oh. By the way, I don't mean the above as an attack on you, Amy. It's just a little tantrum, more fun for the cursing. I thought I ought to come back and say that, as I know emotional prose can be read as SERIOUS or THREATENING, even when such is not meant.


Amy Unsworth said...

Hi Glenn,
I don't have anything against a good rant now & then. And yes, a rant is more often more rhetorically effective than my musing on a topic.

I liked that line about your laugh being tired though; I might have to borrow that in the future.

feel free to stop by and rant anytime!