Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Mark Grinyer

Dear Editor,

Congratulations on a fine February issue. I enjoyed most all of the poems, from David Ferry’s extract from his new translation of the Aeneid through Wendy Videlock’s “Vanity Flare.” I thought that Kevin C. Powers’s final image of war being “just us/making little pieces of metal/pass through each other” [“Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting”] was a particularly telling reminder that we as individuals must take responsibility for the wars that our country fights. I also enjoyed Tony Fitzpatrick’s images attempting to make art from the Katrina disaster [“And All Other Ecstasies”]. I’m not sure they present enough verbal content to be called “poetry,” but I cannot help admiring their color and energy. In any event, I appreciate your efforts to make this issue present the art of poetry from many different perspectives, from the most traditional to the most contemporary and experimental.

What I don’t really understand is the set of “manifestos” that follow the poems. I realize they are attempts to satirize some of the contemporary “schools” of poetry that we have seen in the last hundred years, but I don’t think they were particularly effective. A lot of originality and a lot of good (and bad) poetry have been encouraged by the people and the manifestos behind these poetic movements. Many of them have opened the door to new perspectives on the nature and goal of poetry and poems. It is true that, in the extreme, they may be deserving of satire, but they are also at least worth the effort to thoroughly understand them before making them targets for humor.

corona, california

Originally Published: May 1, 2009

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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