How To Write An Essay About Poetry Goi Peace Essay 2010
I hadn’t been an English major in college, nor had I read much American poetry. But I also often doubted myself, and felt like I was looking in the wrong place, or missing what was really important.
So I felt simultaneously thrilled, destabilized, and confused. At that time, I had the vague impression that poets used poetic language and techniques to express important thoughts or ideas in a more beautiful, complex, or compressed way than prose.
Years ago I used a sentence that sounded fine and that I never understood: "Information is the enemy of art." Now maybe I know what I meant.
When poetry began to spread through the population, I gave a talk that began, "I see no reason to spend your life writing poems unless your goal is to write great poems." My talk went on to invent the Mc Poem, promoted by Hamburger University, and provided countless other bits of snottiness. One poet friend—born the year I was, a winner of prizes, a Poet Laureate—wrote me a letter some years ago.Focusing just on those ideas, and trying to say what a poem was “really” about, always felt reductive, as if whatever was most important was being left behind in the act of explanation.Poetry seemed to be about something else, something like creating a different sort of mood, or mental space, or way of thinking.Although I am too high-hat to call them poets, I think that they should be counted in the crowd, because of the new of the poetic endeavor. His familiarity surprised me but I answered that I liked his work as poetry more than as poems, and... When English departments disappeared into theory, only creative writing classes included literature.Now the same colleges grant MFAs, a postgraduate degree in writing that teaches by workshop. A vulgar writers’ magazine listed in order the best one hundred MFA programs, and followed it with a list of the second-best one hundred MFA programs.Do graduates of MFA programs read as far back as John Ashbery?Once I read a contemporary poet remarking that when he went to college one professor was a Pound man.There have been such essays at least since Edmund Wilson’s in the 1930s.Maybe in the 19th century all middle-class families kept a volume of Longfellow—but they didn't read Whitman or Donne. Now a well-known poet may be published in a printing of 10,000 copies.Now we have the sci-fi crowd, the noir crowd, the romance crowd, the how-to crowd, the thriller crowd, the self-help crowd, the poetry crowd, and the literary fiction crowd. More people heard poetry’s possibility for the first time by listening to Bob Dylan’s guitar.In the old days no one ever spoke about "literary fiction." Stories were good, stories were bad; a "literary novel" was redundant, like burning fire or white snow. Many mother-in-laws have a brother who writes lines now and then, without revising or publication, and without reading other people’s poems. Once after a prep school poetry reading a boy asked me if I liked Dylan. Sung words let language loose, yet poetry enlarged for other reasons.