Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Michael Martin
Dear Editor,

While Brian Phillips's essay may not be about the debate it raises — can poetry matter? — that debate should be dead and buried by now. Poetry today is returning to its original sources, beyond what the "anti-activists" or "activists" are fighting for. It is returning to the oral tradition where it began, to the Def Poetrys, to the Poetry Jazz Houses, to the Slam events — it has been revitalized and redistributed. The fissure Phillips speaks of is not between the audience and poet, it is between poets and poets, and as he said, "both sides are conservative movements that essentially long for the same past." Therein lies the problem. Poetry is actually expanding not diminishing. The addition of a new audience frightens those who wish for it to return to a specific audience, with specific techniques, due to their specific tastes.

Whittier, California

Originally Published: November 15, 2007

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This prose originally appeared in the November 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2007

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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