Saturday 5 April 2014

When We Talk About Poetry

Tracy Kyncl attended the “What We Talk About When We Talk About Poetry” panel in Toronto. She wonders if the assembled critics were too quick to dismiss social media:
Social media is too limiting, insofar as responses tend to be short, inflamed, and emotional. Journals, essays, and columns offer the room to expand analysis thoughtfully with clear evidence. But we return to the root of the problem again: who is being published in journals, newspapers, and in books, and why? If social media isn’t good enough, how else are marginalized readers and critics supposed to get a word in if established media outlets pay no attention to these ignored voices?
Ryan Pratt describes an interesting moment that occured at the Hamilton event:
Diversity of opinion is crucial to the growth of a literary community and, in a question that addressed W.H. Auden’s view that anyone who writes criticism should make clear his or her idea of Eden, different perspectives emerged – albeit in a politely Canadian way. Guriel populated his Eden with role models and metaphors studied during his adolescence. Lahey deemed hers as a space to engage with writing free from outside judgment. And Wells saw himself outside the garden with his back to Eden, seeking knowledge. Beyond the preferences with which each author treated their sacred place, it’s noteworthy that Guriel and Lahey embraced Eden while Wells saw it as “antithetical.” However innocent that icebreaker of a question was, it exposed an ideological fracture in the panel that subsequent topics would investigate.

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