Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Yusef Komunyakaa on Poetry

One of my favorite contemporary poets, Komunyakaa has some very astute things to say about modern American poetry, about what it is and what it should be.

"There's a sameness about American poetry that I don't think represents the whole people. It represents a poetry of the moment, a poetry of evasion, and I have problems with this. I believe poetry has always been political, long before poets had to deal with the page and white space .... [I]f you were to take many magazines and cut the names off poems, you would have a single collection that could be by any given poet; you could put one name on it, as if the poems were all by one person. True, a writer can say almost anything in America and have it completely overlooked, yet I think we should have more individual voices."
from "Lines of Tempered Steel: An Interview with Vincente F. Gotera," Callaloo 13:2

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