Just back from 2ndary thanksgiving with three poets, and over two pies we all agreed that new fiction has gotten/is getting very interesting, but poetry seems to have gone soft in the belleh, having grown reliant on sentimentality at the expense of interesting language. This conversation came on the heels of an IM chat with a friend who has to review three books of poetry for her grad class and is hating it every step of the way. She has concluded that she hates poetry period (citing exploitative, whining content) and doesn't buy my argument that she's really only been exposed to the most accessible (and therefore most teachable?) examples. Shocked to hear a grad student make the kind of statement that I only hear from sophomores--and I took her seriously so I'm thinking I should take the sophomores more seriously as well--I went diving around the net to show her something new and interesting that relies on word tension and not so much gimmickry or confession, but I came up short when went to my usual sources. And then the dog had some sort of gas attack and then . . . I felt bad because for a moment poetry was Santa Claus, and I really wanted her to believe (the IM friend, not the gassy dog).
Oh well, I can always put her on the Buck Downs postcard list.