Essay on Associative Poetry

“The discontinuity of the associative mode is an aesthetic response to the frenetic, anti-hierarchical experience of postmodernity, an experience in which the human psyche, assaulted by cable news and News Feeds, Twitter and text messages, suffers from a kind of perpetual attention-deficit disorder, leaping about, as these poems do, from one perception to the next.”  by Christopher Kempf in vol 64 issue 2 of Shenandoah (direct to essay). Here for the full issue.

And inside you’ll find this gem:

“When this balance is lost, when association shades into dissociation and a poem’s allusions seem too anarchistic, the poem becomes self-indulgent, its allusions a kind of private reference or inside joke to which the reader is not privy. Dissociative poetry—a term which characterizes much of our contemporary writing—brands itself as mysterious, postmodern, or playful when in fact such poetry tends more toward obfuscation, clumsily executed and, at worst, devoid of meaning. “Cute and empty” Mehigan calls this poetry; “privileging the arty over art itself,” says Phillips.”

4 thoughts on “Essay on Associative Poetry

  1. Christopher Kempf’s essay is flat-out brilliant and true! Thank you for such a careful and attentive analysis of a current stylistic trend in poetry.
    A trend which I personally do not like at all.
    Give me back “Home Burial” and “Enoch Arden”

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s