American Poetry in the Age of Whitman and Dickinson

A Disused Poet

leave a comment »

James Russell Lowell is for me the epitome of a perfectly good program uninstalled from most computers because the software is no longer supported. Which is to say: there are no more updates or fixes coming. And compatibility with other programs? Forget about it.

Yet some people — very few, it is true — still read him. Why? Here are some thoughts borrowed from the software world:

  • Many people read forgotten poets simply because they didn’t keep current or don’t read poetry very often.
  • Some actively choose to read forgotten poets. What are they thinking?
  • Contemporary writing is too difficult or too annoying. This is a common reason for sticking with Longfellow and Whittier.
  • Setting the old aside might risk values you need. Conceptual Writing is a good example. Its demands for attention and indifference to response caused accessibility problems for a number of users.
  • There’s a huge amount of nervousness around keeping up to date. It’s also difficult and time-consuming to find new poets. Why risk the search when the old standbys are just fine?
  • You’re busy and have better things to do. To be honest, this is often why I don’t read new poetry. I have my own work to do and a life to live. I just don’t have time to for non-essential reading.

 

Advertisements

Written by Ben Friedlander

June 18, 2015 at 8:47 am

Posted in forgotten poets

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: