In the October 22, 2009 issue of The New York Review of Book there is an interesting foreword written by Charles Simic, our recent Poet Laureate, to his review of Nicholson Baker’s new novel, The Anthologist. Simic makes a few comments about poetry in America that all of us should take note of. [Yes, I know I ended the sentence with a preposition.]
While a recent National Endowment for the Arts study says that reading poetry continues to decline, especially among women, Simic sees poetry, and reading poetry, alive and well in America. He mentioned that today there are at least 27,000 blogs on the Web devoted to poetry (I’m not sure we were counted among the many) and “countless on-line poetry magazines.” Simic also mentioned that he was one of twenty poets who were part of last summer’s Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. This festival drew 19,000 to a small town in New Jersey. Let’s call it Wordstock!
Most encouraging was Simic’s comment about all the poets at the festival. He writes in the NY Review of Books, “What was striking about the poetry being read on the main stage every night was its variety. No single, overall characterization as to style and subject matter seemed possible…All our great and not-so-great poets have been more or less been at odds not only with their times but with one another.”
So, if you are feeling a little “odd” this morning, it doesn’t matter. You might have a poem coming to birth. Keep writing!