Thursday, July 14, 2005
A new way of looking at poetry
An interesting interview with visual poet, Geof Huth (located through Ron Silliman's blog) really gets the wheels turning about how to define poetry. I'm currently in the process of developing a syllabus for a class I've never taught, ENGL 103, Introduction to Poetry. A literature class, not a poetry writing class. I have to teach them what "poetry" is. . .though it is really starting to sink in that poetry is a world without boundaries at this point. We may have a traditional view of it or we may have a radical, evolutionary view of it, but all in all, the notion of poetry itself is an abstraction far beyond what I have ever really conceived of. And yes, I am resistant to saying that an inkspot on a page is a "poem" because it is making a comment about text and visual representation at the same time, but at least I understand that this interpretation exists and that there is actually a theory behind it. Mr Huff actually has some amazing pieces and a quite interesting philosophy about the genre, which really makes a lot of sense when spelled out. I do also have a hard time with the fact that it seems to be another white male intellectual indulgence, but I should be used to that in academia and outside of it. I'd love to see what an african american woman poet/artist can do with this medium, for example. Something slightly more interesting in a lot of ways, I suspect. But I hate to be "that way"- but reading the interview, they didn't mention one single woman working in this medium- are there just no women who do it? Or no women are notable enough to mention? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.