The Gap in the Middle

Martin Earl, in his recent post over at the Harriet blog today, had this to say :

"But poetry has lost its documentary rigor; even the sense of documentary rigor in the way John Ashbery conceives of it, as a flux of detail that is intensely particular but oddly impersonal, fundamentally aleatory. Marilyn Hacker achieves this same rigor. In her case the observing self is foregrounded, but held mercifully in check by traditional craft. In the cases of both poets, the aesthetic carriage is unimpeachable. Most of contemporary poetry’s interests, especially among the younger poets, range from disposable meta-poetic performance on one end of the spectrum to the anemic representation of the feeling self on the other. The world – as a subject – seems to have fallen through the gap in the middle."

This attitude - look for a balance between craft & "documentation", by means of which "the world" can emerge as "a subject" - seems near to some of the things we have been talking about here.

1 comment:

Joseph Duemer said...

Well, that would be my complaint too, about contemporary poetry. It has always seemed to me that the "turn toward language" was a turn away from the world, though weirdly not a turn away from the self, which might have been the desire.