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
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.