Saturday (Winter Returns) Musings

I would encourage everyone to check out the latest issue of New Madrid. I’m not plugging this journal just because it is from Murray’s MFA program and because I worked on journal. I’m very proud of where the journal is going and this issue (our theme was intelligent design) is very well done. There are a lot of wonderful pieces but here are just a few “Breasts” by Pamela Johnson Parker, Slow Fuse of the Possible: A Poet’s Psychoanalysis by Kate Daniels, Mouse by Mark Brazaitis, Small Talk by Lauren Smith, and Call it Beautiful by Scott Doyle. I’m still finishing the issue but please go to the link (listed under my links section) and check it out.
This article appeared in the the Sunday Book Review section of the New York Times:

In October, John Ashbery became the first poet to have an edition of his works released by the Library of America in his own lifetime. That honor says a number of things about the state of contemporary poetry — some good, some not so good — but perhaps the most important and disturbing question it raises is this: What will we do when Ashbery and his generation are gone? Because for the first time since the early 19th century, American poetry may be about to run out of greatness.

What strikes me about it is it’s the same old question. When the old “greats” die, will there be anyone to replace them? I have news for poets, this isn’t just a poetry problem. I also think it is a bit narrow minded to say that just because the older generation is passing on, all poetry is doomed to mediocrity. The younger generation learns from the greats, they idolize the greats, and then they move beyond them. That’s is and always will be the cycle. I don’t think poetry is any different.

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