More things I’ve learned from poetry aka ModPo week 2

Despite the arrival of house guests I made it to the end of Week 2. We were looking at the continuation of the Whitmanian and Dickensonian traditions so more new poems and poets for me. 

Things that stuck with me from this week…

  • The modern emphasis on the complicity of author and reader (although as I write this I hear “reader, I married him”…). On the way both are present – in the sense of just turning up – in the reading of the words of a poem. The Cid Corman poem is a powerful evocation of this, with all content emptied out apart from this.
  • The continuing importance of the word “this” and what happens when you’re not sure what it refers to.
  • Gender crept in. It felt hard sometimes to like William Carlos Williams, with some discussion in the forums of his apparent misogyny. I think I found him funny. I liked to think he was well aware of all his issues in Danse Russe.
  • 20th century alienation (now I’m hearing the Manics: “culture, alienation, boredom and despair…”) in the aisles of the neon supermarket or behind the drawn shades of suburbia.
  • The art of condensing.
  • Meta poetry: self conscious, wearing the traces of its composition, always there to trip you up or make you go a little bit further in “understanding” a poem, if such a thing is ever possible.
  • The challenge and uncertainty of “difficult” poems. Is there a key to search for or just an open ended ambiguity we must learn to be comfortable with, to embrace. 
  • A composition of “found language” could be interesting.

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