April 26, 2005 7:40 AM Subscribe
An insightful piece of poetry criticism by Adam Kirsch encapsulates the work of Charles Bukowski, popular poet with MeFi's and others. Camile Paglia has a go at poetry crit in her latest, Break, Blow, Burn. I read the Kirsch piece because I have a passing familiarity with Bukowski, and if I saw someone reading a volume, I'd have some snap insight into what their interests may be. Though I often judge a reader by their book's cover, I could do this with very few poetry books, and I can't remember seeing anyone with a poetry book, or telling me about a poetry book in a long time. While some of us read for pleasure, we probably aren't reading poetry. The slam poetry movement of a few years ago seems to have lost its media fire. The death of poetry is periodically announced, and others disagree. My casual observation is that many poetry lovers actually write poetry, and are not students of the genre. Poems are short, it's easy to call something a poem, and it may make the writer feel better to write one out. Rarely are they good, and rarer still will they find an audience outside of web communities of other poetry writers. Can vigorous and accessible poetry criticism revive poetry readership? Does anyone who does not write poems read poetry, especially unfamiliar poetry? Will anyone cop to writing it but not reading it? And should we care?
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