Thursday, March 13, 2003

You gotta read this: the article really hacks into the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ mentality of modern poetry.

We are told outright what we secretly feared: that Graham’s poems are difficult, not due to any deficiency on the poet’s part, but because of our limitations as readers. Someone has noticed the hole in our head. Thus, the persuasion to buy is based on the implication that, if we do so, we will demonstrate to ourselves, and anyone else who cares, that we are better people, less frivolous, less blunted. As with any marketing based on an appeal to status, this works beautifully—if we will simply agree (and repeat to others) that Graham is difficult because she is a genius, because we are not, and never the twain shall meet. Now, paradoxically, we can join the privileged class of those who “get it ” by admitting that we never will. We don’t even have to read the poetry!