On Distinction

Insist on progress: Writing workshops are not exempt (more akin to factories…the atelier effectively abolished)—with the haste of production/rush to publish giving an increase in sheer numbers directly proportionate to the loss of craft and hard-won success.

Instead of an assembly line, in which many small motions give way to a freestanding, self-contained entity…each participant’s task is cut off—praised and reviewed as its own finished product.

Many little pieces, all individual, set down as far as possible from tradition and canon. Innovation rules (though Pound recants). What need for slow, difficult, broad, expansive study—no longer useful for both the creation and appreciation: Anything goes. One walks away at the end of the day with a dozen new poems ready for immediate distribution. Perfect for all the literary magazines and publishers prohibiting simultaneous submissions.

Want a career? Stop reading.

What passes? We get language and imagery dreadfully common (all aboard the Wordsworth/Williams express)—where any attempt at metaphor, at figurative language, sounds ridiculously inflated and out of place.

Write about things that don’t really matter—something happened today…I saw something…I heard something…I felt…I  felt…I should definitely write a poem about it—there should be no surprise when no one else cares.

Encourage malnutrition and the wrong kind of debt (so many programs to fill): We are stuck with voiceless poems, limited choice—no identifying marks, nothing to distinguish one from the next.

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