[from Eileen Myles's Harriet blogpost from the poetry foundation, 05/31/09]
I Hate Poetry
I’m wondering why we hate poetry. I don’t mean people who don’t write it. I mean people who do. I hate poetry magazines by and large. You get two copies in the mail. One to archive and the other to read for a week and then to give away. Poems, fiction and a sad bit of art or two. It seems like poetry dies in such magazines. All alone with each other essentially. It’s the death of our art form these journals and I say it has to end here. Can’t we get our poems out some other way. Any way. In part I think the reason everyone wants to get a poem in the New Yorker is that people buy the magazine for other reasons and then they will stumble on your poem. They may or may not read it but they will see it. Maybe outside of The Nation it is the only journal I can think of that does that. Magazines and journals are dying of course like birds at superfund sites. So it’s time to give up on them first. Balloons, shirts, anything, send your poems out. And don’t let a poetry organization be put in charge of placing poems on buses. It upholds the cavalcade of nice. If poetry is nice then it is dead. The saddest job in America for instance is the poet laureate. The poet laureate of America. That’s like being Alfred E. Neuman. When you start to work for the government next thing you know you start demanding poetry be accessible. Or else what? You’ll get detention. Being forced to be clear is right next to being good. And why we considered moral or good? Cause we’re poor. That’s really sad. Remember Nicanor Parra – poems and anti-poems. I don’t even remember those poems but their existence, the fact that he wrote poems against poetry made me glad. I hate poetry movements. It seems like now that the art world knows that movements are dead the poetry world would at least slavishly imitate the big dogs. Oh no, poetry is all ready to get in on the past and is banding together in little groups to show its new flashy edge. Since the birth of MTV in the 80s when Madonna wore crucifix earrings like every junkie in the east village and suddenly every junior high girl in America was imitating her the idea of the avant-garde, the tiny little in crowd of art was dead. I know that artists feel that what they are up to is more profound than fashion – well some do – poets do for instance but in fact that in itself is a very old fashioned idea. There is nothing more profound than fashion. Except silence and it’s time for poetry to find a way to speak through both at once.