Thursday, August 27, 2009

An invitation ...

... to weigh in: Twentieth Century American Poetry Reading List: 100 Plus.

I have no comment on the ones who are still living, but I think that Kenneth Patchen ought be included among the others.


  1. Way too many names included before poets like Kenneth Patchen, Raymond Carver, Alan Dugan, Tess Gallagher, William Meredith (and these just off the top of my head), means the list is out of touch with everyday Americans who like poetry.

    And hasn't it been proven over and over again that that's just what's wrong with today's poetry 'experts'. Bunch of inbred, self-serving propagandists for the quo, always protecting the quo. VPR too, it seems. Sad.


  2. I think you have to understand that Edward is teaching a course and trying to give his students as broad a perspective as he can. He did, after all, ask for suggestions, which indicates how open he is. So I don't think it is fair to accuse him being a propagandist for anything besides poetry. He seems to me to be a good poet and a conscientious teacher.

  3. I'd include Patchen, too. There are poets on that list whose work I don't like who are still good poets, and poets on there whose poetry is not very good, overall. But such is the nature of such lists. They tend to end up being popularity contests.

    And one could argue forever about what names go on the list—which, in my opinion, is the "real problem" with poetry world today: the ongoing contentiousness for no purpose. If it's inbred it's at least partly the poets' fault, and if it's self-serving it's primarily because it's become a primary example of what Deborah Tannen has called "argument culture."

    Which is a good reason to stay away from the fray and just write one's own poems, and leave it at that.

  4. Once again, Art, you and I are in agreement. There is too much squabbling over pecking order. All to no purpose, really, as to what poetry is about. "... just write one's own poems, and leave it at that." Precisely.