Monday, March 28, 2011

∞ Questions for (r)


1) What do you think a poetry review should do?

A review should ask of a volume of poetry questions like these:

What are its obsessions of content?
What are its obsessions of form?
Why does it look the way it looks?
Why does it sound the way it sounds?
To what end these things?
How are we invited to read this poetry?
Where does this poetry fit on our star charts?
Of what constellation is it a part?
Which poems/poets are its Pleiades?


Poetry reviews should quote liberally from the text. The poems themselves ought to be as present as time, space, & fair use will allow. Otherwise, similitudes (& divergences) mean nothing.
           
2) What makes a poem contemporary for you?

“Contemporary” might refer to any number of things. (This is not helpful.) One kind of contemporaneity has to do with topicality; this is the kind of contemporaneity that allows you to say—I don’t know—Thomas Wyatt is contemporary. Bitterness & erotic love are still, thankfully (?), à la mode. Another kind of contemporaneity has to do with form, broadly conceived. & this is the kind of contemporaneity that makes it difficult to confuse the Beats with the Pre-Raphaelites, Flarf with Lyrical Ballads. I do not know why you would listen to me when you could listen to Gertrude: “No one is ahead of his time, it is only that the particular variety of creating his time is the one that his contemporaries who are also creating their own time refuse to accept . . . it is so very much more exciting and satisfactory for everybody if one can have contemporaries, if all one’s contemporaries could be one’s contemporaries.”

3)  Who are your late greats?

Oh, everyone! Just everyone! Domain restricted to English, here are a few:

Thomas Wyatt, those Metaphysicals, William Blake, John Keats, John Clare, Christina Rosetti, A.C. Swinburne, Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, Hart Crane, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Louis Zukofsky, Frank O’Hara…

4) Who are some favorite contemporary poets?

Ange Mlinko, Elizabeth Marie Young, Bin Ramke, Jennifer Moxley, Jane Yeh, Donna Stonecipher, Liz Waldner…

ellipsis
ellipsis
ellipsis

5)  How do you like to feel at a poetry reading?

A giddy thing.

6)  Bête noir?

Trite domestic epiphany; tinny gerunds; hermeticism without affect; affect without intellect; ostentatious resistance to the gorgeous.

7)  How do you feel about sentimentality?

Is it the cheap kind?

8)  Who are you in the extra-poetic?

A cloud in trousers.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

∞ questions for R...


1)  What do you think a poetry review should do?

A poetry review should aim candidly to express and critique the project towards which someone directs the idea of poetry.  Poetry tends to respond to its own idea of poetry—to an imaginary of what poetry is or does or could be.  (The simplest verbs are the most efficacious/resonant, here.)  To be of use, a poetry review asks how a work or collection of poetry tries to be of use, and in what ways it may or may not succeed.

2)  What makes a poem contemporary for you?

For poetry as for all art there is a paradoxical link between the contemporary and the dated, which is to say that sometimes, the more current a work seems, the more quickly it comes to feel out of fashion.  There is an art to the sustainable contemporary—to an aesthetic contemporaneous with every rereading.  To feel as if it will remain new—this elusive quality makes a poem contemporary.

3)  Who are your late greats?

Dorothy Wordsworth; Anna Akhmatova; Lorine Niedecker.

Catullus; Walt Whitman; Allen Ginsberg.

John Donne; Novalis; Jack Spicer.

Pre-epiphanic T.S. Eliot; Anyone in the 18th or 19th century with the first or middle name “Letitia”; George Oppen pre- & post-silence.

Sappho (not for the sake of super-genre, but because she once appeared in a dream to give me a poem with the word “clock” in it).

4)  Who are some favorite contemporary poets?

Let’s go with girl power: Anne Carson; Bhanu Kapil; Eleni Sikelianos; Jane Hilberry.

5)  How do you like to feel at a poetry reading?

Transported.

6)  Bête noir?

Poems that are far longer or shorter than they need to be; the page as playpen; affected resistance to sentimentality; poems about poetry.

7)  How do you feel about sentimentality?

It has an inverse relationship to itself.

8)  Who are you in the extra-poetic?

Human equivalent of an ampersand.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

welcome to oona

Welcome to oona, a new blog devoted to contemporary poetry & poetics (but in a good way).  We're glad you're here. Content forthcoming; please leave a comment if there is a new book you'd like to see reviewed.


Regards,


(r) & R