2.18.2010

Amy's asking some questions about SoQ.

I have thinking of some characteristics of what's not good about SoQ (which I understand as a more Bell / Kinnell / and Iowa 80s poets waslking across corn fields, hunting (problematically), baking grandmother's bread recipe, or drinking whiskey out of juice glasses in the kitchen with not a spouse) AND what I consider contemporary confessionalism, Levine/Laux, etc. style.

While many may think of "quietude" as being perjerative, I think it is fairly descriptive. But I think there is a quietude which is valuable to have around in poetry. And then, see 1) one which is not (but not limited to the so called SoQ)

1) A poetry of accepted ideas. Think Oprah topics: recovery/detox/rehab/12 stepping, a vague but discernably protestant christian spirituality (I realize this is a step), genetics "DNA" family inheritance, "disease," victimhood, etc. Good poetry is a poetry of independent thought, even if the poet happens to be in NA.

2) A concern with "lying to tell the truth." This can verge on the poetry equivalent of serial killer stories: poems with victims who are not the poet told from the first person, etc. Privileging "emotional truth" perhaps not discovered in the course of real events over other types of truth, fiction, or more nuanced understandings of fact, fiction, version, experience, pov, etc.

3) A concern with subjectivity vs objectivity and/or specificity vs universality/generality as the first most important dichotomy or to the exclusion of other ideas about poetics.

4) Abuse of "-ing."

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