Right now, I'm awaiting the departure of my husband and son to Colorado. They're flying there today and leaving me here to my own devices for a few days-- I'm looking forward to some concentrated study time for sure. I haven't read a thing in almost a week and a half. I haven't been alone like that for years, though, and sit here wondering what it will be like. Hmm. I'm excited.
I've been thinking a lot lately about a distinction that I tend to make in poetry, dismissing poetry that is traditional and boring as being "bad" poetry. Poetry not often worth reading. I think this is a misstep on my part, and I feel the need, mostly for myself, to clarify something. This internal struggle began when I made a comment about Mary Oliver a few weeks ago and many people commented that thay appreciate her poetry for various and different reasons. For me, this was a valuable exchange. I personally find Oliver's work to be redundant and boring, but there was a time in my life when I appreciated her poetry for the things it does well. Her poems do some work on some level and therefore may be interesting to some people at some times in their lives. Right now, I find her work un-interesting. For me, this is the most important quality of a poet's project-- or, even in some cases, do they have a project? Is their project just to tell a story? Or is there something about the disruption of the narrative or rearrangement of time or something about the telling of that story that makes it into something I would call interesting? By all means, I am not the authority on interesting or uninteresting poetry, but a poem should do new work, be taking a step in one direction or another. I'm a firm believer in the poet's role to innovate, even on the smallest level. I feel like a lot of contemporary poets are in a rut, stuck in the same lyric patterns we've been in for 20 years, writing the same uninteresting poem about the same uninteresting things over and over, and because the poetry world is comfortable living in this paradigm, these are the totem voices of contemporary poetry. Meanwhile, I'm excited about poets of my generation who are embracing even the slightest bit of innovation and living it, saying it. The wonderful women in my poetry group are a testament to this fact.
I feel like I should be more specific, while at the same time I am reluctant to hold someone up as "my ideal of interesting" and the antithesis. Maybe I'll rhuminate some more and post again later. I do have four days to think about poetry! Such an exciting prospect!