Monday, July 03, 2006


" The democratic nature [of poetry] is best exemplified in the prevalence of the creative writing workshop where poems are subjected to a majority rule rather than the individual voice of the poet. This "poetry by committee" results in poems that have been mediocratized to the point that they all begin to look alike, and any sense of an individual voice is lost.

Donald Hall calls these workshop generations, "McPoems." As Doug Treem once said, "It's like using McDonald's to rid the world of hunger." One cannot cure society's ills by force feeding them food lacking in substance". Rather, we hear Kenneth Patchen's admonishment: "The one who comes to question himself has cared for mankind." Poets must search within themselves in order to tap into the Muse and allow it to flourish in their lives and more importantly in the life of their poetry. It is this inward going, as Rainer Maria Rilke admonishes when he says "go into yourself," that is missing in contemporary American poetry. "

----------------Raymond P. Hammond: Editor of The NewYork Quarterly


twitches said...

Thanks for posting this...I'm feeling better about lacking a "committee" of my own; more excited about the possibility that I can go it alone and trust my own instincts.

twitches said...
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Nick said...

Twitches, I just deleted your double-post - which I assume was not intentional - or posted for effect. With regards to "lacking a committee" - having a number of trusted poetry friends that you can use as a sounding board is something that is "devoutly to be wished". Going it alone can be tough on even the most seasoned of poets.