Saturday, September 18, 2010

Call me conventional

Call me conventional or bourgeois. Say my taste is all in my mouth, if you want to be crude and unimaginative. Or call me a philistine, or say I have a "sour grapes" attitude, or a literal mentality.

Much of contemporary poetry leaves me cold.

I just bought a current issue of a literary magazine at one of the local bookstores. One of the elite in the literary world.

I read the fiction and non-fiction pieces with enjoyment, not so the poetry.
I had the same feeling I often have when reading poetry that gets published in literary magazines. Oh, yes, there are images that are arresting but very little I'd call memorable or quotable. It's nothing I would ever want to spend my time rereading or pondering.

It's not that I am unwilling to work a bit to understand a poem when its meaning is not apparent to me at first reading. I find poems that intrigue me enough to reread from time to time, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

I tend to have favorite poems, rather than favorite poets, but here are a few contemporary poets I like: Billy Collins, Maxine Kumin, Rita Dove, and Ted Kooser.

I would like to see more "accessible" poetry (and that doesn't mean Hallmark sentimentality). If this were the case, then I think poetry would have a broader audience and not just belong primarily to the world of academia.

Garrison Keillor's Good Poems is an example of a collection of poetry that I consider more "accessible."