Sunday, July 26, 2009

"What Is a Poet?" Who needs to know?

Polemicists can lead us to believe that it is not possible or permissible, for example, to enjoy both Scalapino and oh, I don’t know, for rhyme’s sake let’s say Longfellow. That’s the bad thing about polemicists, because of course such is perfectly p and p. The good thing, though, is that polemicists’ provocations keep those of us who love poetry but aren’t dogmatists about any particular flavor of it–the Mutable Majority!–on our mental toes, by challenging our assumptions and driving us to better articulate why and how we like what we like and dislike what we don’t.

I would never want, or be able, to participate in a conference like the “What Is a Poet?” gathering, because I don’t have a clear answer for the question and don’t want to. I do value gatherings like these, though; from them I take a dram of this and a dram of that to add to my own continually bubbling private impure mess. It tastes a little different every day which is (for me) delicious.

-- Joel Brouwer, on Harriet, "What Is a Poet?"

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