Sunday, January 07, 2007

note to self - on assumptions

I think, after all, what really gets me is that we think we know. So we pontificate, even lightly, over 'what is happening in poetry', or 'what the poets are thinking this week, what the poets are writing this year'. And we have no idea. I include myself.

I am reading a literary magazine which has a 'theme'. (I'm not a fan of themes, but I understand why it's done.) And I can envisage what comes from that. The poets represented in that issue will get picked up as being those interested in the 'theme', as if those not in it are not, to some extent. This gets replicated in lazy critiquing (usually via journalism, reviews, essays, the like - we all see some pretty lazy stuff these days, not much above a cut-and-paste of a press release or regurgitation of a much-rehearsed pontification).

This is a weakness of anthologies, best-ofs, omnibus-style reviews, themed publications and the like. It's a form of 'representation' that becomes viral. And results, often, in various poets become identified with a certain style or content without any real investigation of the breadth of what they are actually writing.

If it irritates me with regard to my work, it must get others as well. Note to self - no easy assumptions.

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