Who Put the Washington Post in Charge of Poetry?

Today the Washington Post published an article by Alexandra Petri that asked, Is Poetry Dead? The article was a response to Richard Blanco’s poem at President Obama’s 2nd inauguration. I get that Petri didn’t like the poem. So what? But what bothers me more is she somehow decided that she’d been granted the power to decide what poetry is supposed to be, supposed to do, for everyone else.

It’s a stupid and ill-argued article, but it’s also a reflection of what so many narrow-minded people probably believe about poetry. The article makes ridiculous and incorrect assumptions, but my guess is it’s not that far off from what a lot of people were thinking while Blanco recited his poem. Why is that? Why does Petri insist that poetry needs to change something? Does Petri even read any contemporary poetry (I doubt it)? Does Petri understand the enormous variety of poetry flourishing in the US right now?

Possibly even more important–how has an attitude like that spread? Has poetry moved away from popular society or has society moved away from poetry? Was poetry dumped by its girlfriend or the other way around?

But wait, there’s more. John Deming wrote an open letter response on Coldfront. You have to read it.

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3 thoughts on “Who Put the Washington Post in Charge of Poetry?

  1. Poetry as a “radical art form.” I think not.As a writer she ignores the pleasures of language, whether written or spoken. Seems like a lot of sour grapes here.She is articulate but aiming at the wrong target. She puts the “pu” back in putrid.

  2. Pingback: WaPo Writer Sort of Apologises for Insulting Poetry « UnIambic

  3. Pingback: Does Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Matter? | UnIambic

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