Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

On the Long (Boring) Poem

Does anybody else think a lot of contemporary poems are too damn long? I'm not talking about the book-length poem - I'm talking about the overlong lyric. It seems like there are a lot of poems that are a densely-packed page or two of long lines (or prose) that basically keeps doing the same thing. It may be doing interesting things with language, even. At first. Like the poet is just so inherently fascinating that s/he can't think of depriving you of more cleverness? As in: OK, I GET IT! hahaha, already.

Lyn Hejinian, in the intro to her Best American Poetry volume, spoke of a "sustained engagement with negativity." I'd like to think that Adorno in heaven is smiling on me as I read one of these poems. But that doesn't keep me from getting bored, helas. I have the same problem with an avant-garde poem that is too long to sustain my interest that I did with E. Alexander's inaugural poem, which also bored me to tears. Frank O'Hara said poetry should be as good as the movies, and Jack Spicer upped the ante by saying it should be as fun as TV. Let's hear it for short attention spans.

And God bless Uche Nduka! [if you don't know his stuff, google him] He says something, and then stops. That's a poem. They're kind of "poemlets," a lot of them - not haiku or anything, just v. short lyric poems, often untitled. I can keep reading a lot of these for a very long time, when I'd have given up on a more prolix (and self-indulgent) writer.

2 comments:

Joseph Harrington said...

of course, there are also a lot of long, boring blog posts . . .

Kris H. said...

Wait! On this I have an actual opinion!

I have never liked long poems. On the rare occasions I write them, many are so short they are almost haiku length, and none have exceeded one sheet of standard typing paper.

This comment is longer than many of them, in fact.