Sunday, September 27, 2020

Teasing out what won’t stay put …

… Kay Ryan, 'Giddy with Thinking' | by Matthew Bevis | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The first piece in the book, “A Consideration of Poetry,” foregrounds a vital element of Ryan’s aesthetic. She believes, perhaps counterintuitively, that “feelings, attachedfeelings that is, are also dead weight in a poem.” Nowadays, many poets and their readers prize the attached, the feelingful, the personal, but when Ryan attends a debate about “transgression” in contemporary poetry at the largest literary conference in North America, she demurs: “How about, transgression against obsessive self-regard? That would be a good one: ‘Hello. I’m Jen and I keep having impersonal thoughts.’”

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