Friday, March 27, 2009

You knew it would come to this

Just when we were getting along--

The NEA just came out with one of their doom and gloom reports about reading habits, only this time they assert that poetry readership is on the decline while fiction readership is on the rise. NEA reports are like the DOW—too narrow to be meaningful, but we still respond to them anyway.

So this is a good time for me to skim the report. Research, research, research. Going to Molly’s facebook, ah! there it is. Oh thank god, not the report itself, but a journalist’s summary. Skim, skim, skim—holy crap! Dan Gioia acknowledged online readership as a factor in fiction’s increased popularity?

Okay, so here’s my thing. Poetry has lost my readership because it stopped doing things that no other form could do—it let go of word tension and retreated into sense, which is the equivalent of “selling out” in fiction. In the mean time, new fiction reclaimed the narcissistic moment (otherwise known as ‘lyric’) and did something a lot more satisfying with it. I’m not sure what, but I think it has something to do with humility and fearless sloppiness.

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