Yet More 5 Questions for Poets

June 4, 2014

Red 5-JPEGJonathan Hobratsch, writing in the Huffington Post, celebrated National Poetry Month by posing “5 Questions for Poets” by readers of poetry.

I’m going to continue to answer these questions (this is Part 3 for me, but out of sequence with the original; you can find my answers to other sets of questions, herehere, and here). Here’s a link to Jonathan’s original Part 4 post and the other poets’ answers: 5 Questions for Poets.

And here are my answers:

1. April 23 was Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary. If you went back in time and could ask him one question, what would that question be?

How the hell did you do it?

2. What bothers you most in your literature community?

That I don’t get to spend more time in it – whether it’s my virtual community “52” or the one where I live in Brooklyn. There are some wonderful poets – wonderful people! – in those communities and I really wish I had more time to hang out with them. In the larger poetry community: careerism, cronysism, and churlishness.

3. Which poets, alive or dead, are overrated/underrated?

I’m sure I’ll offend with this comment but I find Charles Bukowski completely overrated and over-read. And his influence is dreadfully felt. Among contemporaries, I also can’t see what all the fuss is about Dorothea Lasky, there doesn’t seem to be much there there.  (I can see the email daggers massing in my in-box or, for that one.)

There are way too many underrated contemporary poets to mention them all, but among the dead Lorine Niedecker, Kenneth Patchen, and Walter Pavlich have always seemed unfairly neglected in my book.

4. Are prizes like Pulitzer, NBA, NBCC are good for poetry. Is there discrimination against women poets, non-white poets, gay poets?

Prizes are for poets, not poetry. It seems like a popularity contest more than anything. I’m sure there is discrimination; you find that wherever there are human beings, cliques, factions, and dominant cultural hierarchies. Others have VIDA stats and ratios to prove it.

5. Is poetry useful?

Poetry is neither as useful as a tool nor as useless as a whim. Of course, I couldn’t live without it.

 

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One Response to “Yet More 5 Questions for Poets”


  1. […] is the 5th and final). You can find my answers to other sets of questions, here, here, here, and here. Here’s a link to Jonathan’s original Part 5 post and the other poets’ answers: 5 Questions […]


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