Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Abuse of the term "experimental"

Reading reviews and blurbs, you would think that about half of all poetry being published today is either "experimental," "avant-garde," or both. Spreading words around on the "white space" of the page to mask a bad line? You're experimental. Writing in a disjunct style that imitates the language poets? You're experimental. Playing with sounds in the manner of Gertrude Stein? You're experimental. Dislocating an essentially Romantic speaking voice onto various subject positions like Ashbery? You're experimental. The only thing more clichéd than being "experimental" is being a flat autobiographical realist. And vice versa.


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