It's been pointed out to me that although I seem interested in avant-garde poetics, the poetics of my poems are pretty mainstream.
No one's perfect.
I remember a poetry teacher of mine once describing her introduction to poetry classroom as the place where wild horses are broken. I feel like I overhear (as an outsider) these comments from all parts of the structure of the literary field today, with its various different schools; low-voiced, closed-door type conversations about trying to rein back in those well-meaning, even gifted individuals who have wandered off, or warnings to those who seem to be venturing on their own or down some half-beaten path. I have no desire to break wild horses. I am full of judgment, but I think, finally, the desire to maintain the fences of orthodoxy which call themselves good taste has been persuaded out of me.
Language is not just a pasture for tamed beasts of burden, no matter how beautiful or powerful they are; it is also the wilderness from which that pasture was made, claimed through the violence of an ax on tree trunks or an earthmoving machine’s scoop on sod, the wilderness to which it will return as soon as the vigilance of those who maintain the pasture falters. I recognize that I work within an enclosure, which is my allegiance to image and narrative and the discovery I find there. But when I read work by Lyn Hejinian or Marjorie Perloff, I understand that the field of imagistic poetry is not the whole of what is possible or even good. There are other pastures, and there is a whole wilderness of language through which strange things move. I am not a breaker of wild horses, nor can I teach the wild ones how to be what they are. But I do believe in the power of encounter, the power of recognition.
I study experimental poetics because it is how I can think about and learn about what I want from poetry. It is necessary for poets to know what they expect from poetry and what they think is good if they are going to try to become better at writing it.
Rae Armantrout questions if poems should give us a feeling that we have solved a puzzle.
Blog exploring narratology and narrative theory and how those critical tools can be applied to poetry.