Friday, 3 June 2016

Chrissy Williams' review of Andrew Shields' collection from Eyewear

THE ROMANCE OF THE NEW?
I enjoyed Chrissy Williams' review of Andrew Shields' collection from Eyewear. I was surprised though to see quatrains viewed as a traditional form. Well they are but it is also 50 years or more since Olson gave us his projective verse. Poetry cannot be judged by how it looks on the page. I call that the fallacy of form: that somehow some poetic options are more or less quaint. We are post-experiment now.

Conceptual poetics has opened the door to every kind of option. For a poet to return to a stately older form to work in is no less bold or noble than for a person to wear gloves in winter. Sometimes it is cold and the gloves serve well in their chosen task. Poetry reviewers do not understand it seems to me the paradox their instrumental task boxes them into: to describe something heretofore unfamiliar and new.

The critic enters into a rhetorical maze that is a trap: however they wander they aim either to the exit that says original or old hat. But the maze itself is fixed. I try instead not to evaluate in terms of originality which is a bogus pursuit devised by Chevrolet salesmen.

I ask does it sing? Does it serve? Does it bring pleasure? Is it good within its chosen bounds? My kitten will never bark. My dog will not purr. I feed them both.
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