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Monday, November 22, 2004

There were at least two passionate responses to last night's post, one from Jordan Davis in the comments and one from Joshua Corey on his own blog. Both say they will never compromise their art in order to reach a larger audience, which they clearly think I am advocating for others and willing to do myself. I don't and I'm not, and I think the compromise is being made by those who've given up, or who have never tried, writing transformative, serious (which doesn't mean "not funny"), and intellectually honest poetry for the ordinary educated reader, who does hunger for poetry, but who these days has been so often disappointed that the hunger has become merely a vague unease until something like 9-11 happens.

The fact is, it's easy to write poems to please oneself and one's friends, and it's no harder to write difficult poems than it is to write simple poems. What's hard is to write poems that, regardless of their difficulty or lack of it, help strangers see a new world. Poetry is, or was once, part of the conversation of our culture. If poets choose to mumble or shout to each other in the corners, we all suffer.


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