Why is modern poetry so bad?





“Our poets today are too timid to say, “‘we,’ to go plural and try to strike a major note . . .  on any fundamental truth of human experience.” Unimpressed by or unaware of any poets who might contradict his blanket condemnations, he claims that in the face of war, environmental destruction and economic collapse, “they write as though the great public crises were over and the most pressing business we had were self-cultivation and the fending off of boredom.” All that matters to these narcissistic singers is the creation of a “unique voice.”

Wouldn’t you know it: The old hobgoblins are to blame for this failure. MFA programs force brave young students to stoop and shuffle to please their worn out masters. “You must play the game that is there to be played,” Edmundson writes. To get the fellowship, the first book, the teaching job, the new poet “had best play it safe, offend none.”

And then, naturally, there’s the toxic effect of literary theorists working right “down the hall from the poets.” With their insistence on the impermeable barriers of race, gender and class, these liberal post-modernists keep anyone from saying anything about anything but his own private world. “How dare a white male poet speak for anyone but himself. . . . How can he raise his voice above a self-subverting whisper?””


About Katherine

I like art, poetry,history, literature,cooking,doing nothing to music.And conversation
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