Letter to the Editor

In Defense of Poetry Czar

I had read the response to Jefferson Carter in your Letters to the Editor

section and would like to add something else.

Any poet knows when you are young you will write a hundred poems to find

a single line worth calling poetry.  

Poetry needs to bring insightfulness

and deep thought to a subject in a way no other person may have ever

considered.   Wallace Stevens said poetry is a revelation of words by means of the words. Poetry is also the toughest of the writing arts because there is really no way to make a template for poetry unlike

fiction writing, journalism or writing for the stage.  And it must be

concerned about the human condition for all humans.  Otherwise it is not Poetry.

Poetry of resistance by definition does not have any revelation. Poetry about the result of the resistance can be great.  Allen Tate's Ode to the Confederate Dead is marvelous. Woman's poetry about Women's issues only reflects half the world's population.  But Anne Sexton's All My Pretty Ones, while about the poet's relationship to her father, intensely reveals. Cultural poetry about one's culture or

identity can not reveal anything new, but Pablo Neruda's Ode to the Present is accessible to anyone.

The poems critiqued by Jefferson Carter were a beginning of the playing

and learning of the words that will some day lead to much better writing.

It is a tough business but in the future I hope and believe the writers will appreciate the constructive criticism.

—Matthew Somers

(Editor's note: Sometimes it helps to read the original story. Yes, Carter was offering criticism, but that criticism was mostly going to the late poet Francisco Alarcon, a well-loved published poet and professor. We're hoping he's laughing at all hoopla and still writing exactly as he always has despite how people feel about poetry of "resistance.")

Comments (2)

Add a comment

Add a Comment