Poetry as horror

There’s a haiku-writing serial killer murdering the residents of a small Japanese town. His haiku, which he leaves at the scene of each crime, becomes incredibly terrifying in context: Setting a fire– / smoke gives delight / to a country fellow (I’m assuming there’s a dash or other punctuation after the first 5 syllables. Is […]

When fear of lyric subjectivity goes too far

You’re left with a purely linguistic shell, a work of methodology, rather than craft, as Cal Bedient persuasively puts it in his essay, “Against Conceptualism”: Melancholy and militancy, those contrary but subtly related elements of the poetry of affect, cannot be excised from literature, in favor of methodology, without both emotional and political consequences: misery […]

On Pronouns, Collectivity, and Anxiety: How Dead Is Poetry, Really?

This has been one of those weeks where I’ve been mired with rejections, such that I took one demonstrably non-personal rejection as saying, “Your poetry used to be better.” This led to some histrionic sad-facing and familiar but unreasonable thoughts, like “What is the fucking point?” and “I should drop out of grad school and […]

A light distraction

After what feels like a solid month of traveling, I’ve been thinking of writing a new blog post that considers issues of community and commonality in lyric poetry, particularly in light of Mark Edmundson’s (relatively) recent Harper’s article, “Poetry Slam; Or, The decline of American verse.” I’m super late to the game, especially since the brilliant […]