Thursday, June 24, 2010

What is the future of poetry?

This is a great article that shows different definitions of the purpose of poetry.

What is the future of poetry?
What is poetry for? Who is it for? And can it really be on the ascendant? Stephen Moss (who has, sadly, not become the next Oxford professor of poetry) reports from the front line.

excerpt:
The Hungarian-born poet George Szirtes, who teaches poetry at the University of East Anglia, says poems try to capture a reality that is deeper than language. "You're trying to say: I know what this thing is called," he says. "It's called a chair, and that thing is a table. I've got this word 'chair' and I've got this word 'table', but there's something peculiar about this chair and table which using the words chair and table will not actually convey." Readers, he says, may race through novels because they want to know what happens, but they should look to inhabit poems. "Nobody reads a poem to find out what happens in the last line. They read the poem for the experience of travelling through it."

"The simplest and best answer I got at the event in Oxford was "for paying attention". Judith Palmer, director of the Poetry Society, echoes that phrase. "One of the things poetry gives all of us is a way of developing an attentiveness to life, a way of observing the world, of noticing things and seeing them differently," she says. A good poem looks closely at the world; does that Martian thing of trying to see it for the first time. Everything else – the emotional charge, the lyrical delight, the intellectual pleasure – is secondary."

Read the full article from guardian.co.uk here.

1 comment:

  1. "Nobody reads a poem to find out what happens in the last line. They read the poem for the experience of travelling through it."

    That's exactly how I enjoy poetry, and it's also the way I enjoy the best fiction. I love the specificity of poetry, the language that conveys much in a few, well-chosen words.

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