Rolling Contemporary Poetry

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Because the world needs this thread.

So, to start off, what's the best new book of poetry published so far this year?

markers, Monday, 25 October 2010 17:37 (ten years ago) link

I will be following this thread keenly, but have little to contribute to it. Read a couple of new John Burnside poems that I quite liked the other day - has he got a new collection out? (f'ing lame I know - but it's all I got)

Pork Pius V (GamalielRatsey), Monday, 25 October 2010 17:51 (ten years ago) link

While we are all waiting for the contemporary poetry to arrive, ILB'ers may want to while away the time reading the many minor gems in The Hitherto Uncollected Poems of Beth Parker: A tribute.

Aimless, Monday, 25 October 2010 18:03 (ten years ago) link

^^^^^very, very otm

acoleuthic, Monday, 25 October 2010 18:04 (ten years ago) link

I mean the best new poem I've seen all year was by an ILXor (elmo argonaut) so like

acoleuthic, Monday, 25 October 2010 18:06 (ten years ago) link

I don't think a Burnside collection is due yet - one last year iirc. He is very good, isn't he? I always forget about him when I'm thinking about contemp British poetry - I take him for granted a bit, I think – feel like in the platonic issue of the LRB (alongside a diary report from Afghanistan, Tom Shippey on something Medieval, James Wood on an important writer, etc, etc) there are two knotty poems by John Burnside about taking a walk at night in the cold.

Collections I'm meaning to get hold of: Peter Porter's new Selected (always admired him – sucker for formal adeptness + urbanity + his inside/outside relationship with The Tradition – but didn't read much from the last decade), the new Muldoon (feel like I've got to, slightly resent feeling like I've got to, will probably enjoy it once I'm in).

Stuff I've seen around - liking the poems Mark Ford's been publishing recently, but his new collection isn't out till next year. Shocked to be impressed by a Nick Laird poem in the TLS. I've really seen nothing before that's made me believe he's the real thing (tbh saw him as the fag end of the Norn Ireland line, ambition cursed with a middling ear and bad eye) but this had a bit of density & weight.

Here end the dispatches from a p conventional sensibility.

portrait of velleity (woof), Tuesday, 26 October 2010 09:59 (ten years ago) link

I have high hopes for Ange Mlinko's Shoulder Season which Amazon are in the process of sending to me (along with MacNiece's Autumn Journal and Hecht's Later Poems - not sure why I didn't get round to getting hold of these last two sooner).

Stevie T, Tuesday, 26 October 2010 10:11 (ten years ago) link

Think Don Paterson's book on Shakespeare's Sonnets looks very entertaining too.

Stevie T, Tuesday, 26 October 2010 10:16 (ten years ago) link

I will be following this thread keenly, but have little to contribute to it.

this.

also link to elmo's poem lj?

O holy ruler of ILF (a hoy hoy), Tuesday, 26 October 2010 10:20 (ten years ago) link

(I think I might use this thread to remind myself of stuff as well, so:)

I should prob read that Patrick McGuinness collection, Jilted City. I've never really clicked with him in the past, and what I've seen from it hasn't made me that excited, but reviews make it sound like it'd work for me if I had a bit more patience.

portrait of velleity (woof), Tuesday, 26 October 2010 11:08 (ten years ago) link

three weeks pass...

After a long homeward talk with the man himself from a reading I have purchased Jeff Hilson's 'In The Assarts' and the damn thing is extraordinary

benylin cartel (acoleuthic), Sunday, 21 November 2010 21:17 (ten years ago) link

in the asshats

aka the pope (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Sunday, 21 November 2010 21:42 (ten years ago) link

gonna tell him that & say it was u

pro EVOO sucker (acoleuthic), Sunday, 21 November 2010 21:43 (ten years ago) link

in the asshats

(I am Spartacus!)

Aimless, Sunday, 21 November 2010 21:49 (ten years ago) link

HOOS is legion

pro EVOO sucker (acoleuthic), Sunday, 21 November 2010 21:50 (ten years ago) link

also pope

pro EVOO sucker (acoleuthic), Sunday, 21 November 2010 21:50 (ten years ago) link

I read a fair bit of contemp poetry these days but I don't know how to talk about contemporary poetry & feel like a lot of the discourse around it is so very many leagues beneath it -- beneath the good stuff anyway; there is loads of lousy stuff that's pretty much exactly on the level of the discourse -- that the vocabulary to describe reading it is lacking; I don't know how to discuss Jean Valentine, for example, who strikes me as a poet of incredible & v. understated power: when people talk about "rhythms" w/r/t ametrical verse, for example, I want to say, what the fuck could you possibly mean by "rhythm"? anyway, Chelsea Minnis, she kicks ass

it's 'cadence' not 'rhythm' these days iirc

pro EVOO sucker (acoleuthic), Sunday, 21 November 2010 22:02 (ten years ago) link

yeah I'm still callin bs on that

just say what you mean, "voibe," and be done w/it

I basically completely wing it & use vocabulary I'd previously have reserved for music when discussing modern poetry I like - the problem is often whether to approach the text as a machine or as a narrative

pro EVOO sucker (acoleuthic), Sunday, 21 November 2010 22:04 (ten years ago) link

like "cadence" is a specific reference to the movement of a metrical line. no coincidence that the term is used in horseback riding; it has to do with the movement of the feet. take the feet away, there's no cadence. imo

I have reconfigured 'cadence' like the busy little modernist I am, also I am throwing 'syllabography' into the ring

pro EVOO sucker (acoleuthic), Sunday, 21 November 2010 22:06 (ten years ago) link

some say cavalier, I say visionary

pro EVOO sucker (acoleuthic), Sunday, 21 November 2010 22:06 (ten years ago) link

do ppl say cavalier

aka the pope (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Sunday, 21 November 2010 22:38 (ten years ago) link

posting 16-page modernist-situationist epic to ilxor.com = cavalier, let me roll w/ the defenders of king charles I, struth

pro EVOO sucker (acoleuthic), Sunday, 21 November 2010 22:40 (ten years ago) link

blowetry

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Sunday, 21 November 2010 22:50 (ten years ago) link

poetrill

I wrote a poem today and while I was writing it a dude in a yellow speedo ran by towards the ocean holding flippers and I was like man I should do that instead but I kept writing

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Sunday, 21 November 2010 22:55 (ten years ago) link

ur a tru bro

pro EVOO sucker (acoleuthic), Sunday, 21 November 2010 23:04 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

Lately…

Maggot - Paul Muldoon. Read through about a month ago, didn't leave a huge impression. Liked that first combat/cancer sequence, but overall I'm feeling a bit worn out by the Muldoon music: that rhyme game again, verse always twists into the same patterns of unexpectedness. A step back from that big poem at the end of Horse Latitudes maybe? Anyway, he's interesting, always distinctive, etc etc but I don't really like his verse that much. Which reminds me

Oraclau/Oracles - By my bedside, not reading quickly. I dunno. I sort of like prozac comeback Geoffrey Hill, that odd dense/garrulous texture he hits a lot, the urgency, & I remain a sucker for his canonical sonics; but feel like I'm still sitting outside it a bit. Maybe I'll finish it tonight, report back a bit more concretely.

Waiting to start Hot White Andy by Keston Sutherland. Intrigued; said somewhere before that I wasn't wild on Antifreeze, that I'm a bit sceptical of most stuff that's Prynne-marked (Like he, his style seem a cerebral revolutionary cause, probably the only one in British poetry at the moment; the non-Prynne stuff I've seen mostly doesn't really feel the allure or power of lyric, memorable speech, any trad or popular def of poetry); but I liked the youtube of his reading, & I guess I think more interesting stuff will come from the stony ground of Cambridge poets than the damp pastures elsewhere.

Get that impression because I've been reading Identity Parade to catch up on British poetry (my current loo book). F'k me, what a shower. Hit rate feels far worse than the old Bloodaxe New Poetry from 93 (previous thing of this sort), really meh intros to the poets and the volumes. But k.i.p., k.i.p., so of ppl I hadn't read before quite like Mark Waldron, Melanie Challenger, a few others.

portrait of velleity (woof), Thursday, 20 January 2011 16:28 (ten years ago) link

Like he, his style seem a cerebral revolutionary cause, probably the only one in British poetry at the moment

ronggggggggggggggg

vampire weekend fan (acoleuthic), Thursday, 20 January 2011 16:32 (ten years ago) link

get thee some sean bonney. lovely guy too. and then check out chris goode, jennifer cooke, o god so many others...

lol @ me pimping my irl homies

vampire weekend fan (acoleuthic), Thursday, 20 January 2011 16:33 (ten years ago) link

also jeff hilson, as said above. wau.

vampire weekend fan (acoleuthic), Thursday, 20 January 2011 16:33 (ten years ago) link

I'm a bit sceptical of most stuff that's Prynne-marked

So am I. But when it works it can be scorching. Mate of mine, Ian Heames, is progressing towards this end. When it fails, it's so many discrete images flashing by at lightning speed for no apparent end.

vampire weekend fan (acoleuthic), Thursday, 20 January 2011 16:35 (ten years ago) link

oops, double use of 'end' - also erroneous use of it at all - poetry doesn't have an end, it participates in a wider flow

:(

vampire weekend fan (acoleuthic), Thursday, 20 January 2011 16:35 (ten years ago) link

but still, Prynnian wank is egregious and barely listenable, barely fun even, so you gotta hit your marks

vampire weekend fan (acoleuthic), Thursday, 20 January 2011 16:37 (ten years ago) link

fair enough, I do tend to be a bit undiscriminating when it comes to that side of things, so call anything that's in the difficult British Poetry Revival line (Barque stuff, all that) Prynne-y. That's v lazy of me, journalistic, so yes fair enough. I'll have a look at those sorts you mention; Bonney seems alright on first glance.

God i don't know though. Touch of the perpetual manifesto writer.

portrait of velleity (woof), Thursday, 20 January 2011 17:01 (ten years ago) link

i been digging james richardson's 'by the numbers' esp the aphorisms:

137. Out walking, I think of that face I love or some scene of awful
embarrassment and stop dead in my tracks, as if I had to choose
between moving and being moved.

"crut" copy (diamonddave85), Thursday, 20 January 2011 17:58 (ten years ago) link

ne1 have any opinion on foer's 'tree of codes' ? i usually tend to enjoy palimpsest and experimental book forms (i just picked up this one in fact) but the die cutting seems and the resulting flimsy-ass-these-are-soo-gonna-tear pages seems clumsy and put me off

"crut" copy (diamonddave85), Thursday, 20 January 2011 18:06 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

sheen's korner y/n lol

acoleuthic, Thursday, 10 March 2011 23:46 (ten years ago) link

saw louise gluck read last night.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Oi3ehb2uRrc/TKsgIOPpCnI/AAAAAAAAB0I/eDk4awT-_MM/s640/gluck1.jpg

bnw, Friday, 11 March 2011 21:44 (ten years ago) link

five months pass...

i am reading a copy of mark halliday's jab, pub. 2002. it was in my amazon save-for-later list and i have no memory of what led me to place it there. i am having trouble with it, mainly because in register/idiom he is v. close to yoni wolf of why?, which means i keep hearing everything half-rapped for a line or two and then get lost when there's no rhythm to make work

viz.

if you were standing frozen in sweated confusion
at the Personal Furnishings rack
in a giant department store five days before Christmas
wearing a woolly jacket that belonged to someone long gone
and trying not to seem dangerous
under silver and scarlet decorations with no conception
of adequate reply to tremendous departures

thomp, Monday, 5 September 2011 11:37 (nine years ago) link

This, though, I like, although it is a bit ILMish I 'spose

Trumpet Player, 1963

When Jan and Dean recorded "Surf City"
there must have been one guy—

I see this trumpet player (was there even a horn section in that song?
Say there was)—

I see this one trumpet player with his tie askew
or maybe he's wearing a loose tropical-foliage shirt
sitting on a metal chair waiting
for the session to reach the big chorus
where Jan and Dean exult
Two girls for every boy
—and he's thinking
of his hundred nights on his buddy Marvin's hairy stainy sofa
and the way hot dogs and coffee make a mud misery
and the way one girl is far too much and besides
he hasn't had the one in fourteen months, wait,
it's fifteen now.
Surfing—what life actually lets guys ride boards
on waves? Is it all fiction? Is it a joke?
Jan and Dean and their pal Brian act like it's a fine, good joke
whereas this trumpet player thinks it's actually shit,
if anybody asked him, a tidal wave of shit.

thomp, Monday, 5 September 2011 14:58 (nine years ago) link

tho' it occurs to me that "actually" is functioning, in my head, the way chris addison or stewart lee might use it: that this switch in register is occurring largely in my head to the particular mode of comedy that isn't quite good enough to justify how bound up it all is in the self-presentation of every British male I know under thirty.

Which is probably irrelevant. I don't know. I half-like this guy. But "what life actually lets guys ride boards / on waves" almost gets to something, & that could remedy this poem, except that it falls so flatly there, is so bluntly stated, that it just kind of sits in the middle of the poem and gets in the way.

thomp, Monday, 5 September 2011 15:07 (nine years ago) link

I like Halliday a lot, especially his first book Little Star, which was embarrassed/confessional/honest in a funny way. He has a kind of casualness that may have been fresher in the world before blogs and message boards.

reggae night staple center (Eazy), Monday, 5 September 2011 18:25 (nine years ago) link

Just started reading lots of Anne Carson which has been consistently blowing me away.

Michael_Pemulis, Monday, 5 September 2011 22:50 (nine years ago) link

I like Halliday a lot, especially his first book Little Star, which was embarrassed/confessional/honest in a funny way. He has a kind of casualness that may have been fresher in the world before blogs and message boards.

There's something about his assumption of a stance of resignedness that I find weirdly offputting: that might be part of it.

Meanwhile, today the British poet laureate told us that "poetry is the original text messaging" -- also that "If you look at rapping, for example, a band like Arctic Monkeys uses lyrics in a poetic way."

thomp, Tuesday, 6 September 2011 10:43 (nine years ago) link

Has anyone read Philip Levine, the new U.S. laureate? I didn't realise they had such sharply defined terms for the job, over there.

thomp, Tuesday, 6 September 2011 10:44 (nine years ago) link

He's one of the 1928 poets (also Merwin, Ashbery, Kinnell, and more. This one and this are representative of his work. Depending on the poem, reads like bad Whitman or great Whitman. Easy reading, in terms of flow and clarity.

reggae night staple center (Eazy), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 00:03 (nine years ago) link

five months pass...

i never mentioned on this thread that i'd read lynn emanuel's noose and hook, which i thought was kind of fantastic

desperado, rough rider (thomp), Monday, 20 February 2012 22:28 (nine years ago) link

Incidentally, Hopkins fits the classic paedophile profile but I dislike him because I don't think he's any good.

can one fp a whole blog

imago, Wednesday, 14 November 2018 07:43 (two years ago) link

Xp that is very bad news re: Jarvis. I dunno how to go about running 'good poetry, bad man' on someone who's done something that bad.

Never changed username before (cardamon), Thursday, 22 November 2018 01:54 (two years ago) link

Elsewhere has anyone read penguin New poets series (their new one). Tried to encounter a few in waterstone's last time I was in, but did not like

Never changed username before (cardamon), Thursday, 22 November 2018 01:57 (two years ago) link

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/22/is-contemporary-poetry-really-in-a-rotten-state-or-just-a-new-one

Novelist Rose Tremain thinks poetry these days is overrated. “Let’s dare to say it out loud: contemporary poetry is in a rotten state,” she told the TLS this week. “Having binned all the rules, most poets seem to think that rolling out some pastry-coloured prose, adding a sprinkling of white space, then cutting it up into little shapelets will do. I’m fervently hoping for something better soon.”

Had Tremain really managed to miss the whole of modernism? After all, the modernists swore they had “binned all the rules” at or around the end of the 19th century. For anyone, much less a writer, 20th-century modernist poets are hard to miss; whether it is the sediments of Eliot or Pound, or the brilliant treasures of HD, Mina Loy or Hope Mirrlees. Had Tremain leapt over the cross-currents of the next 100 years from Tennyson to Walter de la Mare to Philip Larkin, flat-footing it on their bald, smooth verse to land on some plaintive lyrical bank of our new century?

Never changed username before (cardamon), Friday, 23 November 2018 00:43 (two years ago) link

ts eliot and ezra pound not contemporary poetry

flopson, Friday, 23 November 2018 00:49 (two years ago) link

Xp

I'm not sure which is worse: 'they have broken the rules' or 'modernism means you can't ask for poetry based on rules' or 'because of Eliot and Pound, contemporary poetry need not answer to any standard'.

Never changed username before (cardamon), Friday, 23 November 2018 00:51 (two years ago) link

The Outside Scoop

Recnac and my 📛 is Yrral (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 23 November 2018 00:53 (two years ago) link

Another xp

I h8 the way those two get brought in to justify free verse; Eliot tends to have trimeter, tetrameter and alexandrines going on; Pound began with strict formal verse, moving on to a new style for the cantons, and praised good examples of it throughout his essays

Never changed username before (cardamon), Friday, 23 November 2018 00:55 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

Sad news about Les Murray.

o. nate, Thursday, 2 May 2019 19:35 (two years ago) link

Read 'Deaf Republic' by Ilya Kaminsky which I liked a lot.

Leaghaidh am brón an t-anam bochd (dowd), Friday, 3 May 2019 07:45 (two years ago) link

I read it - I remember it reminded me of Cummings quite often.

Leaghaidh am brón an t-anam bochd (dowd), Monday, 13 May 2019 10:03 (two years ago) link

one month passes...
one month passes...

Just ordered this:
https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/08/15/michael-hofmann-cold-comforts/

Sounds like he’s a big Robert Lowell fan, which is a good sign.

o. nate, Tuesday, 20 August 2019 16:39 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

Was thinking it might be too late for summer reading, but the humidity is ba-a-a-ck (ghost of Dorian), so it's currently hotter than God's stuffed balls where I live, so I'll go ahead and post this:

Far Rockaway

"the cure of souls." Henry James

The radiant soda of the seashore fashions
Fun, foam, and freedom. The sea laves
The shaven sand. And the light sways forward
On the self-destroying waves.

The rigor of the weekday is cast aside with shoes
With business suits and the traffic's motion;
The lolling man lies with the passionate sun,
He returns to the children digging at summer,
A melon-like fruit.

O glittering and rocking and bursting and blue
--Eternities of sea and sky shadow no pleasure:
Time unheard moves and the heart of man is eaten
Consummately at leisure.

The novelist tangential on the boardwalk overhead
Seeks his cure of souls in his own anxious gaze.
"Here," he says, "With whom?" he asks, "This?" he questions,
"What tedium, what blaze?"

"What satisfaction, fruit? What transit, heaven?
Criminal, justified? Arrived at what June?"
That nervous conscience amidst the concessions
is a haunting, haunted moon.

---Delmore Schwartz

dow, Saturday, 7 September 2019 17:37 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

Hofmann has a very funny poem about Donald Trump in the current issue of the NY Review of Books.

o. nate, Sunday, 22 September 2019 01:05 (one year ago) link

six months pass...
nine months pass...

Biography
Poetics
Photos
Interviews
Works
Links
Shop
Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 497
11 HOURS AGO

Big news announced this week, the upcoming (April 2021) CD release by Omnivore Recordings of Howl at Reed College (from February, 1956, the first recorded reading).
Variety in its announcement notes the background:

“The tape went forgotten until 2007, when author John Suiter found it in a box at Reed’s Hauser Memorial Library while doing research on another poet who read at the college that day, Gary Snyder. Its discovery made the news after being verified the following year. But it was to still go unheard to the general public until a Hollywood-Oregon connection made its release inevitable.

Reed named Dr. Audrey Bilger its president in 2019. Bilger happens to be married to Cheryl Pawelski, the Grammy-winning co-founder of Omnivore Recordings, who had moved to Oregon herself upon Bilger’s appointment. Omnivore already had history with Ginsberg, having released The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience in 2017 and The Last Word on First Blues in 2016. Using her existing connections with the Ginsberg estate, Pawelski sent the tape to Grammy Award-winning engineer Michael Graves to have it transferred, restored and mastered.”

Chris Lydgate in Reed Magazine tells more:

Its first public reading took place at San Francisco’s famous Six Gallery in October, 1955. Along with Ginsberg, the evening included readings by Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Philip Lamantia, and Michael McClure. Poet Kenneth Rexroth was the emcee; Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Neal Cassady were in the audience. Unfortunately, no one thought to record this historic moment. Ginsberg was recorded reading the poem at Berkeley a few months later in March, 1956, and for many years literary historians thought that recording was the first. But they were wrong. Earlier in 1956, Ginsberg and Snyder went hitchhiking through the Pacific Northwest, and arrived at Reed, where they decided to hold a poetry reading in the common room of the Anna Mann dormitory. On February 14, Ginsberg read the first section of “Howl,” still very much a work in progress. And this time, someone brought a tape recorder.”

John Suiter, also in Reed Magazine, back in 2008, provides the essential account:

“Before launching into “Howl” itself, Ginsberg pauses to briefly prime his listeners for what’s to come. “The line length,” he says. “You’ll notice that they’re all built on bop—You might think of them as built on a bop refrain—chorus after chorus after chorus—the ideal being, say, Lester Young in Kansas City in 1938, blowing 72 choruses of ‘The Man I Love’ ’til everyone in the hall was out of his head—and Young was also . . .” (This was pure Kerouac, straight from the prefatory note to Mexico City Blues, wherein Kerouac states his notion of the poet as jazz saxophonist, “blowing” his poetic ideas in breath lines “from chorus to chorus.”)
(He) then begins with his now-famous opening line, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness . . .”—delivered in a rather flat affect. First-time listeners may be surprised at how low-key Ginsberg sounds at the outset of this reading of “Howl,” though this was typical, and soon enough his voice rises to what he later called “Hebraic-Melvillian bardic breath.”
“I still hadn’t broken out of the classical Dylan Thomas monotone,” Ginsberg later wrote of his early readings. “—the divine machine revs up over and over until it takes off.”
The Reed recording of February 1956 is superb, faithful in pitch and superior in sound quality to any presently known 1950s version. Allen is miked closely, so his volume is even throughout. His enunciation is clear, his timing perfect; he never stumbles. His accent is classic North Jersey Jewish, intelligent and passionate. The poet-as-saxman metaphor comes demonstrably true as we hear Ginsberg drawing in great breaths at the anaphoric head of every line. It’s a recording to be breathed with as much as listened to…..”

links: https://allenginsberg.org/2021/01/f-j-15-2/

dow, Saturday, 16 January 2021 18:05 (five months ago) link

Roll on Omnivore---from my Uproxx ballot comments re: 2019:
Allen Ginsberg: The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience (Omnivore)

Baaahing at and from what no more can be seen from the darkening green, then venturing through rounds in the smokey city, letting the good and bad times constantly roll back and forth through each other, Blake and Ginsberg's magisterial and magical realness trespass is sometimes given pause and detour by evidence of a woman in there somewhere, as the wordmazes make way, even more---something to do with Ginsberg's choice of poems to include: no valentines, but some things that shake the darkness deeper, where Beatrice is unseen, also unsought, it seems. Eventually he meets Arthur Russell, who joins Bob Dylan etc. for nocturnes but hold on now when they meet, it's in a San Francisco park including a Buddhist troupe that AR is living with: here they keep rolling up and down though a thunderclap of drone.

dow, Saturday, 16 January 2021 19:07 (five months ago) link

Oops, that was originally from 2017, pasted into 2019 comments re Arthur Release.

dow, Saturday, 16 January 2021 19:12 (five months ago) link

five months pass...

Sasha Frere-Jones on Michael Robbins' new collection:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/156119/it-just-sort-of-happened

Alien vs Predator was a fun collection, but I like the excerpts of the longer poems that hint at a different direction here.

o. nate, Monday, 21 June 2021 15:31 (four days ago) link

Lineated prose isn't poetry, as much as Robbins and many others want it to be.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Monday, 21 June 2021 18:21 (four days ago) link

michael robbins sucks

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 21 June 2021 18:24 (four days ago) link

his work just feels empty to me despite/because of how dense with reference it is. and when he employs rhyming like a guy who read john berryman once i want to saw my own head off

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 21 June 2021 18:35 (four days ago) link

I like referential work but there's nothing sly or ambiguous about Robbins' work, which makes it really uninteresting to read.

But then again, I am an enormous hater of most popular contemporary poetry, so whatever.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Monday, 21 June 2021 18:44 (four days ago) link

i mean my opinion is partially informed by how the guy had been a known asshole and idiot online in communities we were both a part of well before he became the pop music poetry guy

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 21 June 2021 18:51 (four days ago) link

I guess the title poem is free to read online, already five years old at this point, though I never read it, despite being at least a lukewarm Robbins fan:

https://www.theparisreview.org/poetry/6808/walkman-michael-robbins

It definitely is lineated prose, not sure it can't also be poetry though.

o. nate, Monday, 21 June 2021 19:05 (four days ago) link

pretty much just reads like an essay to me

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 21 June 2021 19:09 (four days ago) link

an essay i would abandon reading

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 21 June 2021 19:09 (four days ago) link

Maybe the prosaic style is supposed to be a gesture of Marxist solidarity with populist Instagram poets like Rupi Kaur.

o. nate, Monday, 21 June 2021 19:14 (four days ago) link

there’s a great part in lydia davis essays book where she talks about how non-lineated prose can be poetry and some lineated poetry is in fact prose and she says it’s highly subjective but then tries to explain it then gives a couples examples and it’s super spot on.

flopson, Monday, 21 June 2021 19:14 (four days ago) link

lol i totally remember that one

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 21 June 2021 19:15 (four days ago) link

i mean my opinion is partially informed by how the guy had been a known asshole and idiot online in communities we were both a part of well before he became the pop music poetry guy

― mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, June 21, 2021 2:51 PM (twenty-three minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

i have been trying to hold my tongue about him online for YEARS but I went to grad school with him and he was an asshole then for sure. I do not admire his poetry, but I can definitely not be objective.

horseshoe, Monday, 21 June 2021 19:16 (four days ago) link

There are plenty of contemporary poets who write about pop music, sometimes in a very prosaic manner, who are much better than Robbins. Brandon Brown, Dana Ward, Simone White, Moten. These poets are pushing boundaries of what content and form can do in terms of a poem's affective power...Robbins often reads like he's writing a somewhat pedestrian memoir...there's no surprise, no joy, and nothing interesting about his lines.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Monday, 21 June 2021 19:18 (four days ago) link

Like it shocks me that someone would give a fuck about Robbins if they could read Simone White's work about Future.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Monday, 21 June 2021 19:20 (four days ago) link

I thought Dan Chiasson made some astute comments about Joni Mitchell in The New Yorker, not always close to the way I hear her, but worth thinking about, unlike the presentations by many official music writers. Every other time I've seen him in there, he's written about about poetry, and has led me to good stuff.

dow, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 00:58 (three days ago) link

Tough crowd. I liked the Robbins book. But admittedly I am in no way up to date as far as contemporary poetry goes.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 22 June 2021 03:28 (three days ago) link

I'm planning to get the book at some point.

o. nate, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 18:04 (three days ago) link

Tbf, if it's published by a major publishing house, most poets are going to hate it. Robbins isn't for me, and that's fine.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Wednesday, 23 June 2021 10:25 (two days ago) link

(it's still bad poetry)

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Wednesday, 23 June 2021 10:25 (two days ago) link

its p boring but i can't think its *bad poetry* and i'm not sure i get the lineated prose thing, seems less so than lots of stuff that has been called poetry for at least 50 years. the line breaks make sense to me as a metering device more than they often do in poems that i think are better or funnier or more insightful or feel stranger or

I would be interested if you could expand a bit on what you mean tbh table, i'm particularly surprised bc I'm sure I've seen you post positively about people like susan howe who i'm a big fan of and whose work is very agnostic about boundaries between poetry/prose/painting etc. I guess I'm just a bit confused because I don't suspect that you are operating from a conservative position, yet i can't see how otherwise to read this 'not-poetry' calling of poetry that is itself fairly conservative. I'm trying to imagine any analogue of this where I could go along with something being called 'not cinema' or 'not music'

plax (ico), Wednesday, 23 June 2021 12:15 (two days ago) link

ftr my interest in poetry tends to be that i'm a total philistine but I like to read things that are 'experimental' or kindof high modernist (I guess mostly in a surrealist tradition). I would make no claim that I understand even half of the stuff I read so that I often find discussions of even totally canonical things I like, like New York School, absolutely impenetrable (I read a book about ashbery once that made me doubt anything I thought I had understood about it at all!).

Anyway its not contemporary but one of the books I've had beside my bed for some time is 'experts are puzzled' by laura riding, which I think could very easily be described as 'lineated prose'; its full of these truncated little essays in plain text without line breaks, and you could argue quite easily that its not poetry at all and I'm not even sure what riding's view was on that. Yet there seems to be something about how it evades how an essay is supposed to function, and tugs at the idea of language and argument from inside, that seems to me to be poetry. I'm not sure I need or want to have a working definition of what poetry is or isn't that I can use as a criterion, but one sense I have of what it can do is that its something that plays with language to get it to do something new or interesting, or at least make me think about the relationship between ideas and the words that express them.

Anyway my understanding from that is that anything that gets designated as poetry kindof has to be taken seriously as poetry. It doesn’t mean that its interesting or makes you feel anything or make you think anything new or interesting about language, (although it might for somebody else!) . Even then, reading something like this michael robbins guy, it wasn’t interesting at first, but then it made me think about other poets whose work I like that it shares features with (refusing a ‘poetic’ language and using ordinary language, taking a shape that doesnt quite fit an essay or a story and so kind of inconclusive), and maybe it would make me think in future more precisely about those other poets work work or how poetry to other kinds of writing (about music, or food, or history, or writing) relate. It might be cheap or lazy but just to take a piece of writing that asserts itself as poetry as poetry is always to invite some way of thinking about it that is different from how I might otherwise think about it.

plax (ico), Wednesday, 23 June 2021 12:54 (two days ago) link

Your take on the Riding book is v. appealing, will check thx

dow, Wednesday, 23 June 2021 21:12 (two days ago) link

Good discussion.

He's dead but I'm rereading Thom Gunn with great pleasure.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 23 June 2021 22:23 (two days ago) link

plax, my opinion doesn't arrive from a conservative view, I don't think.

When I read Bernadette Mayer, for instance, or someone more actively "contemporary" like Lewis Freedman, I can tell that while the poems are often composed of long, sentence-like syntactic units, that they are *meant* to be that way; that is, they were written qua poems utilizing the form of the sentence.

In Robbins' work, I'm not so sure— the line breaks seem either disinterested or obvious or both. They read, in other words, as if Robbins wrote them as sentences, then lineated them later. I guess I should admit, then, that my bit about them "not being poetry" was hyperbolic, but what I meant is that I find poetry like this to be incredibly boring— but at least Robbins isn't as boring as this absolute shithead of a human being, whose work is *about* ideology rather than arriving from it, and whose entire first book is just bland rad-left truisms like this crap.

https://t.co/Qj8BW4UOD1 pic.twitter.com/ST18bLJKFr

— Patrick (@prosepoems) June 4, 2021

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Thursday, 24 June 2021 20:44 (yesterday) link

He lives in Philadelphia, and honestly, I will punch him if I ever meet him.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Thursday, 24 June 2021 20:45 (yesterday) link

That's a poem?

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 24 June 2021 20:56 (yesterday) link

Supposedly.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Thursday, 24 June 2021 21:15 (yesterday) link

One of the strains in US contemporary poetry is what might accurately be called "socialist realism," in which a usually white person writes poems that are more about showing their personal commitment to class struggle and the cause of socialism. If you don't like the poem, then that means you are an elitist snob. Trust me when I write that these people have no sense of nuance, grace, or social skill.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Thursday, 24 June 2021 21:18 (yesterday) link

I think we may be overlooking the fact that poetry that is difficult to parse or understand is generally not popular, and the most popular poetry is generally pretty easy to read and understand because it follows rules of sentence formation and logic that are commonly assumed in prose.

Rupi Kaur, for instance. No socialist message, just short affirmative poems that generally read like prose-like fragments.

o. nate, Thursday, 24 June 2021 21:23 (yesterday) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.