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.”

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