Poetry Internationale!?!


Thanks to Rus Bowden for finding the following threads discussing whether American poetry shouldn’t be internationalized:


From the Virginia Quarterly Review: http://www.vqronline.org/blog/2007/09/20/muldoon-to-take-over-as-new-yorker-poetry-editor


From the Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/footnoted/index.php?id=636


From Books, Inq. blog: http://booksinq.blogspot.com/2007/09/at-least-its-not-outsourcing.html


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Now, my take? Earlier this year, I was published in an Australian lit journal. Within the past week, I was asked if I was originally British, because of my writing style and subjects. However, I’ve spent my entire life in Southwest Ohio orbiting between Cincinnati and Dayton.


If I consider myself anything (geographically speaking), it is a Southwest Ohio poet (not an American or International poet). I write about things important to me in this quadrant of this state (and, of course, other places that I happen to visit).


Actually, I think this is a loaded topic. Poets need to write what they know. Again and again, I can see a dramatic improvement in the quality of other poets (myself included) when they quit trying to make things up in their poetry and instead just get real (this holds true regardless of style or structure).


So my thought process leads me to think that poets shouldn’t be concerned with whether poetry is internationalized or regionalized. That’s something for anthology editors and anthropologists and politicians to fiddle over. Poets should focus on writing what is true and letting everyone else debate the meanings.


I’d love to hear if any of my readers have thoughts on this subject.

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2 thoughts on “Poetry Internationale!?!

  1. Robert Lee Brewer

    No, I think that’s a good point, which is why poets should not worry themselves over whether they’re writing from a regional or international perspective. I’ve always felt readers will interpret using their own lens, which is not the same from reader-to-reader.

    Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Caili

    Robert, I agree that poets should write about what they are familiar with, and if this is manifests as regionalized poetry, then so be it. However, no matter what the subject, the reader will always interpret based on their own assumptions and knowledge. I wonder if the reader is as justified and correct in their own explication of a poem as the poet who wrote it, even when they may be entirely different.

    I apologize if I am missing the point of your post, but then again, this is my interpretation!

    Best,
    Caili

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