When a devotee of the astringent ‘difficulty’ of J.H. Prynne and de facto member of the Cambridge School publishes a 7,000 line Anglican poem in formal rhyming verse, it is safe to conclude he has had something of a change of heart. Not total, perhaps. Simon Jarvis’ Night Office, the poem in question, echoes and alludes to Prynne and foregrounds the sort of Adorno-inspired theorizing Jarvis and others have used to justify Prynnian poetics. Even the way Jarvis writes as if no one had produced a rhyming couplet since 1908 may be more a result of subscription to modernist orthodoxy than evidence of its renunciation. Still, there is no pretending Night Office is your standard Cambridge fare.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Sunday, March 16, 2014
|Archambeau, Burt & Mazer before "Poetry: What's Next" at the Grolier|
Here, courtesy of Mark Schorr, is an audio recording of "You Will Object," my talk on the future of poetry at the Grolier poetry bookshop.
Mark made my day afterwards when he compared my talk to something Kenneth Burke might have said.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Sunday, March 09, 2014
Research continues in the vital field of descriptive poetic sociology, people, and my army of assistants labors ceaselessly in the fourth sub-basement of the secret backyard writing dojo. Below find a compilation of current research results: a provisional and partial descriptive vocabulary for life on the slopes of the American Parnassus!
Bestseller: A poetry book purchased by at least one person neither related to, nor a former student of, the poet in question. The existence of bestsellers has yet to be verified.
Censorship: Something that happens to poets in other countries. American poets are protected by the constitution and widespread public indifference.
Close Reading: An event at which one performs one's poems in a venue the size of a phone booth.
Impoetence: Writer's block. A failure to rise to the occasion.
Metafore: The act of trying to convince a more prestigious poet that the two of you have met on a prior occasion.
Multiclutchural Poet: One who tries desperately to find a Native American, African-American, or Latino ancestor. Mid-career name changes may be involved.
Reversifier: A poet who tries to write in meter but gets it backwards. A New Formalist.
Many thanks to R.S. Gwynn, Paul Bond, T.R. Hummer and Michael Anania for their valuable research in cataloging these terms.