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.
At the New Orleans Poetry Festival, April, 2017 - Eileen Tabios, Tim Dyke, Lo Mei Wa and myself before the Tinfish Press reading.
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