A response to a British news anchor and poetry prize judge’s plea that poets become more ‘relevant.’
Kirsch, in response:
‘Maybe the watchword of the future, then, should not be more accessibility and more popularity—the average book of poetry is, in fact, paralyzingly accessible, wearing its heart and its language on its sleeve—but rather, back to the coterie. Let the best poets find each other, read each other, and promote each other, as the best poets have always done. Let them ignore both the demands of the public and the demands of the poetry world, and write as they feel compelled to write.’
As something of a skeptic, I often tire of so many pleas for high art in the public square, mass elevation of the soul, wisdom and shared suffering (even moral instruction) that often fall on the ears of those few who care somewhat, and those who don’t care at all, often to little effect.
The work gets done by those who do it, poet, critic, and reader alike. Sometimes death and obscurity is the reward.
All of those prizes and professorships, institutions and grants don’t necessarily make any better poets and poems.
A permanent creative caste and/or horde of culture vultures and busybodies guarding the poetry bin clearly has downsides, and in worse-case scenarios, subjection of the arts to ideology is a requirement.Beauty is no quality in things themselves, it exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.
Related On This Site: When poetry went into the universities: Repost-From Poemshape: ‘Let Poetry Die’
Philosopher Of Art Denis Dutton of the Arts & Letters Daily argues the arts and Darwin can be sucessfully synthesized: Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’
Conservative Briton Roger Scruton suggests keeping political and aesthetic judgments apart in the humanities:Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment
How might Nietzsche figure in the discussion (was he most after freeing art from a few thousand years of Christianity, monarchy and aristocracy…something deeper?), at least with regard to Camille Paglia. See the comments: Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful
Roger Scruton In The American Spectator: The New Humanism…From Nigel Warburton’s Site: A Definition of Humanism?…From The City Journal Via Arts And Letters Daily: Andre Glucksman On “The Postmodern Financial Crisis”