Orientation to modern poetry scene?
August 6, 2013 4:24 PM   Subscribe

What are some great articles, websites, discussion forums, magazines, or books that would orient me to the state of the modern poetry and poetics -- the different artistic schools of thought, the competing aesthetic theories, what's considered avant garde, the culture, the gossip, the key small presses and publications, the place of MFA programs in it, and so on? Positive views, critiques, objective commentary -- all of it would be welcome.
posted by shivohum to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Try Stephen Burt's Close Calls With Nonsense.

From the website: "Burt’s intelligence and enthusiasm introduce both tentative and longtime poetry readers to the rewards of reading new poetry. As Burt writes in the title essay: “The poets I know don’t want to be famous people half so much as they want their best poems read; I want to help you find and read them. I write here for people who want to read more new poetry but somehow never get around to it; for people who enjoy Seamus Heaney or Elizabeth Bishop and want to know what next; for people who enjoy John Ashbery or Anne Carson but aren’t sure why; and, especially, for people who read the half-column poems in glossy magazines and ask, ‘Is that all there is?’”
posted by pretentious illiterate at 4:54 PM on August 6, 2013

If nothing else comes up, you could trawl Google Scholar for terms like contemporary poetry with a 'since 2013' setting on. The results are pretty mixed, but you'll get some hits like an interview about the contemporary Caribbean poetry scene or links to things like The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry since 1945 .

The latter has one article about American poetry and its institutions that mentions Octopus and Jacket2, which is home to PoemTalk, which is a collaboration between the Poetry Foundation and PennSound (et al.). It also has an article broadly surveying trends from 2000-2010 or so that appears to start from the idea that the previous decades were all about Language poets hanging around and writing manifestoes against mainstream lyric poetry, but apparently "in a certain sense, the lyric has won."

That strikes me as academic corridor talk, not necessarily a defensible thesis, but I haven't read the article, and probably that kind of synoptic opinion is exactly what you're looking for.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:49 PM on August 6, 2013

Try David Orr's Beautiful and Pointless.
posted by kestrel251 at 7:11 PM on August 6, 2013

The answer is: extremely fractured. I would encourage you to check out alt.lit and flarf, both with a big grain of salt stuck in your open mind.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:52 PM on August 6, 2013

Ron Silliman's blog will lead you to some interesting places.
posted by dizziest at 11:13 PM on August 6, 2013

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