Mike Snider's Formal Blog at the Sonnetarium :
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Thursday, March 11, 2004

One last set of thoughts on Ron Silliman's test, which is predicated on the assumption that for most readers, the experience of a poem is shaped by the name attached to it or by the journal in which it appears or both. That may often be true for those of us actively involved in the pobiz, but for almost everyone else it is barking nonsense.

Most people don't know Barrett Watten from Rhina Espaillat, or Fence from Ploughshares. When most people encounter a poem—even in school, unless the teacher is extraordinary—there's nothing but a text and a name and the general category "poem." A few may notice whether or not the thing rhymes, and fewer will care. Almost no one will attempt to scan, and no one will compare the number of sentences in successive groups to the Fibonacci series.

For almost everyone, a poem in a textbook or a magazine or an anthology or a website is naked. The normal encounter with a poem is what Ron tried to approximate with his experiment. And though readers of his blog are likely to have more sophisticated tools for recognizing poetic strategies, those of us who care about ionic minors or the referentiality of language also encounter a new poet or a new style in this same way—we use our hard-won tools, of course, but only what is in the bare poem can teach us whether to seek out or to avoid others of its kind.


Blogged from webmail, so there's no title.


4:40:55 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

I've added stacks of new links in the last few days and just been too lazy to list them. I've got a little time right now, though, waiting for a meeting to start, so here they are (or at least as many as I can remember are new), in order of appearance on the left.

Poetry Sites: The Formalist and the West Chester University Poetry Conference.

Blogs of Poems: Awake at Dawn -- Writing Journal.

Blogs on Poetry: Carbonator, DagZine: Positions, Poetics, Populations, Flowers that Glide, Mappemunde, The Philly Sound, Poetic Inhalation, Porthole Redux, P(u)we-tics ni Tatang, Ruby Street, Ruminate (Yay! Chris Lott's back!), transdada, tympan, Unpleasant Event, and Watermark.


Sent from webmail, so there's no title.


10:55:27 AM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

David Flood, a local singer/songwriter, has invited me to play with him Thursday night at Scheibles. If you're in southern Maryland come on by.

For those of you in the Triangle area in North Carolina, Friday night I'm reading with Langston Fuze, Tanya Olson, Sista Rhonda Reese, and others at the Stammer, held in Raleigh's ArtSpace. The Murray Street Band is playing, too. Cover is $4 and there's always time reserved for an open mic.

Between that and driving the 300 miles home, I'm not likely to post anything more before Saturday.


12:00:19 AM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

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