The Fringe Makes the Papers

OK, so I shouldn't really call it the "fringe" anymore. My favorite nemeses--the practitioners of Flarf and Conceptualism have made the most famously conservative newspaper in the country, the Wall Street Journal. As good of a feature as we're going to get in that publication, the article is fairly well-balanced. Check it out here.

Though I know the feature was about a specific poetics movement, I am a bit discouraged that such a high-profile piece (Most of the Google hits while searching for the article yielded results of poetry bloggers FREAKING the hell out that poets were interviewed in a national daily newspaper.) didn't really attempt to seek out those who are NOT writing in that vein, or who find it sort of, well, dumb. There are lots of those. I'm still on the fence about it, which is why I would have loved to have heard our old hero, Canadian Carmine Starnino, professional curmudgeonly critic. It's not like this guy's hard to find. However, let's not drown out the celebration of avant garde poetry's good press with booing. Let's leave it at a hurrah.

While driving home this evening, I happened upon the May 18th "Poetry off the Shelf" podcast, which this month delved into kids and poetry. According to a study done by the Poetry Foundation a few years back, if you're not into poetry by the time you're done with childhood, chances are you won't be when you're an adult. One of the interviewees discusses his four-year-old twins memorizing Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening...and LIKING it! Anyone who's ever played some good hip hop around a toddler knows that youngun's are suckers for rhythm. Check out that podcast here.

Finally, if you haven't already heard, the Ruth Lilly Prize this year went to a ninety-year-old Southerner--virtually unknown--named Eleanor Ross Taylor. I've read and heard only a bit of her poems, but that bit is all it has taken to blow my mind. Expect reviews of two of her books coming in the next few weeks.


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