A very interesting blog by Niall O'Sullivan which reminds me of Jeanette Winterson's Art Objects, which I was reading just yesterday:
'True art, when it happens to us, challenges the "I" that we are. A love parallel would be just; falling in love challenges the reality to which we lay claim, part of the pleasure of love and part of its terror, is the world upside down. We want, and we don't want, the cutting edge, the upset, the new views.'
I could carry on quoting her, as it's quite brilliantly fresh, twenty years after its publication. Whatever your views on Winterson, she sure can write.
Anyway, back to the topic.
O'Sullivan's blog post resonates. I'm weary of saying what kind of poetry I like or don't like since it's an ever changing process, but if were to, I think 'poetry that surprises or weirds me out' could be an apt one. That or poetry that taps into somewhere in my brain I'd forgotten. As Winterson puts it 'can remind me of feelings, thinkings, I did not even know I had forgot'.
I have been feeling a certain growing allergy towards 'anecdotal' poetry, poems that give us a straightforward glimpse into a moment with nothing else to chew on. There's something wonderful about struggling, really struggling, to explain why you find a poem quite marvelous, because you haven't fully, cannot fully, analyse it.
I think this is why poetry, more than any other form of literature, appeals to me so much. I love the way it escapes easy definitions, how, yes, even after wading through a rack of pristine uniforms, I find a surprisingly beguiling outfit made out of unknown fabric.
Me and a student had a book swap the other day. I lent her Bad Bad by Chelsey Minnis and she lent me Ernest Cline’s collection The Importance of Being Ernest. She thought the Minnis book was “interesting…” and I am finding Cline’s book to be fun but it didn’t really give me the things that I appreciate from a poetry collection. This got me thinking about the differences between poets that are known as “poets’ poets” and poets that are perhaps best summed up as “popular poets”. For me, part of the pleasure of reading a poem is the strangeness of the poem as well as the poem being a bit resistant in my initial reading/listening. I often have to renegotiate on a basis of everyday language and my world view in order to get at what the poem