Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vivek Narayanan in Open Magazine

Turn to each case of a thriving, vigorous poetry community and a common thread seems to emerge, not a prefabricated mass audience, not international acclaim, but rather a culture of frank talk and close engagement, vivid with ferocious, voracious arguments, unending discussions, even intellectual fist fights or several rival aesthetic camps. Most of all, there is a deep awareness—even if an antagonistic awareness—of one’s own poetic history. And that is where we fall short.

Poetry, then, does need readers, a community to survive; but it is the intensity and not the size of that community that matters. In an insipid poetry/literature scene, including one saturated with publicity, an inability to muster enough historical awareness, informed critique, ruthless honesty and close, complete reading means that we turn our hopes outward, in a wish for love and affirmation from an imaginary audience that never shows up.

The whole thing here.

And the rest of the action here.


Falstaff said...


Now if only they'd got the name of his book right.

Space Bar said...

Falsie: :D indeed.

equivocal said...

F-- That's hilarious-- I didn't even notice that. Strangely appropriate mistake, don't you think? Now I'm torn between writing to them and just letting it be as is!

Falstaff said...

equivocal: Yes, bizarrely apt.

Good article btw - I mostly agree, but then you already know that. I do have a few additional thoughts but I've decided to behave and turn them into an actual blog post at some point instead of doing my usual post-as-comment thing.