Q. Do you see your poetry, and the poetry you admire, in this list of characteristics?

A. Nope.

Well, for the most part, nope.

- Very interesting language, an extremely personal style

"Very interesting language" surely, although that seems vacuous enough. Does interesting poetry have interesting language? Surely. Well, perhaps not visual poetry, sometimes. Some of that is interesting and language-based but not an example of what you might call "very interesting language" -- more like an interesting pointer or dissection of language. Paralanguage.

Plenty of the poetry I like has an extremely impersonal style or a style that, at least, is unrelated to the person who wrote it -- texts based on other texts, in particular.

- A great emphasis on connotation, texture (as opposed to direct statement)

I like plenty of poetry that involves "texture" (in a broad sense), but I don't think the driving force behind something like, say, "Tjanting" is focused on connotation, texture, or direct statement, but rather in the relationship of its constituent parts, not in such a way that it blurs into "texture", but -- an emphasis on connections. But there are yet other modes.

- Extreme intensity, forced emotion, violence

Please no.

- A good deal of obscurity

This assumes that there is something "under" a poem that can be obscured. Most of the poetry I like has no such assumption.

- Emphasis on sensation, perceptual nuances
- Emphasis on details, on the part rather than the whole

For the most part, no, although a few texts, sure.

- A tendency toward external formlessness and internal disorganization

While that is certainly true of enough poetry I like, most of it is actually highly formal and organized (in its fashion) or at least is built upon connections, and so has a certain internal organization even if it tends towards external formlessness.

- All tendencies are forced to their limits

OK, yes, this one seems true.

- Emphasis on the unconscious, dream structure, the thoroughly subjective

You could probably force this sort of reading on a lot of what I like, but that's not how I read it.

- Attitudes anti-scientific, anti-common-sense, anti-public

I'd just as soon poetry not deal with attitudes so much, but plenty of it seems to intersect with the scientific, the common sense, and the public.

- Not a logical, but an associational structure

How is that not a logical structure? I guess, in the sense that it isn't building a logical argument? Perhaps this too is familiar then.


(Via Catherine Daly, who has her own take.)


  1. Ron said...

    Chris: It's harder to mock these insistent internet chain-memes when people like you make them into intelligent posts like this. Just saying.  


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