Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blue Moon Forthcoming & A Question about Lyric Poetry



New Year's Eve will feature a blue moon, which has nothing really to do with color (or poetry for that matter). Read all about it here and prepare for more craziness than usual on the night in question.

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Sara Tracey's blog has a link to her poems currently appearing in Arsenic Lobster, which are awesome and should be read posthaste, and a great video about students of today in higher education.

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True Confession: I have neither read Little Women nor seen any movie version. After watching last night's PBS biography, I am now an ardent fan of Louisa May Alcott.

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Over Xmas, I read the latest issue of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics (Issue 12), which features a look at lyric poetry in its Poetics section. The questions posed to a selection of poets and critics were these: "What happened to the lyrical poem in contemporary American poetry? Why is it disappearing? How has the lyric lost prominence?"

Being most inclined to the lyric, I was a bit stunned by the questions; as it turns out, I was not alone. Most of the responses included some argument against the questions themselves. Greg Orr's answer rocks! He discusses the foundational documents of different cultures that define the nature of poetry and points out that "In China and Japan both these documents stress the connection between individual feeling and the world that surrounds the self... ." Orr goes on to point out that the Western world does not have such foundational documents for the lyric and discusses Plato, Aristotle, and Wordsworth's "Preface," all three of whom I'd thought of as Orr outlined the Eastern documents. Orr does admit that the lyric may be out of fashion. Really? What say you, gentle readers?

Carolyn Moore discusses the need to break up long sequences of lyrics with some narratives or dramatic monologues, especially at readings. She gives me much to think about and a new reason to re-read the manuscript and check out how many pure lyrics I've strung together.

There are many more responses that add to the discussion, but I'll leave it up to you to buy the issue or find it at your library if you want to read along. I'll leave you with this from Noel Pabillo Mariano, "[P]oetry as a whole is undergoing a transformation where genres are being broken."

2 comments:

mariegauthier said...

What a great issue of Redactions--did I tell you this already? It seems like I come upon your poems everywhere these days. I love "Voice Box": branching into both sugar and thorn."

(Tom should copy edit more closely, however [is this mean to say?]: big typo on the cover ["Happended"] & Paisley Rekdal's name is misspelled on the back cover and the TOC. Oy.)

(And I would add the "Redactions Investigates" is a bit of an overstatement, as there's no real back & forth delving, which would have been really interesting, an actual conversation.)

Still, great poetry & journal, I'll stay a subscriber for sure. Congratulations on your poem!

Sandy Longhorn said...

M., thanks again for you kind words about the poem.

Yes, a back and forth conversation would have been even more interesting, but I found myself supplying much of that as I interacted with each person's response.

A great journal indeed.