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Poetry challenged

I've been having trouble with my Monday assignment for my yearlong challenge, which is to read OPP (Other People's Poetry). As I read, I find myself very critical of the poet from pretty much the moment I start. I think, "Wow, that's ugly," and "That metaphor means nothing to anyone anywhere except this poet," and "Ewwwww!" Occasionally, I've found some gems among the collections I've been looking at. Mostly, though, I find so many poets bland, boring, or just plain bad.

So I felt somewhat validated when I got Peter Murphy's bimonthly newsletter and read his Writing Tip essay called "Read Like a Writer." Here's the passage that struck me the most:

As you progress as a writer, you will be less taken in by other's words. More likely, you will find yourself wanting to move them around or chuck them out all together. You will become less interested in the content of the story, essay or poem and more interested in how well or how badly it is constructed.
Murphy goes on to say that we can keep a journal to write our thought of OPP, discussing their methods and themes, etc., or even write reviews for Amazon.com. I've been trying myself to write down my thoughts of the OPP I've been reading, but I mostly just say something like, "Meh." Not exactly the point of this part of the challenge, which was to read more poetry and then write about it to make myself a better poet.

I'm not sure how to liven this part of the challenge. I didn't look at so much as a haiku today. I'm open to suggestions.



( 2 comments — leave a comment )
Mar. 8th, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)
Other People as in peers, current unvetted writers, or as in any poets ever? I mean, do you have the same reaction to Adrienne Rich, Pablo Neruda, WB Yeats?
Mar. 9th, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
No, of course not. But I don't read Neruda because I don't like translated poetry, and I've read enough Yeats before to know I do something very different and am not looking to model myself after.

I've picked up some single-poet books randomly, and some collections. As I said, I've found some good stuff. I just can't keep myself from being so critical of marginal poetry. And honestly, even "vetted" poets get on my nerves for sometimes writing so obscurely that I blame them partially for why people don't like poetry today.
( 2 comments — leave a comment )