Tuesday, June 28, 2011

reprint from old blog—though the question is still relevant, i think


Regional, racial, ethnic, gender, generational, thematic, etcet:

if you look at the dozens and hundreds of anthologies of contemporary USA poetry published over the past two/three decades,

you'll find compilations of poems or poets gathered and linked to represent many categories of differentiation and distinction,

with one exception. There are no anthologies based on class.

Why is there no anthology of rich poets, poets who came from a background of wealth and privilege. Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, James Merrill, Louise Gluck, William Matthews, Richard Howard, C.K. Williams, Russell Edson et al.

Class is the most important influence on the lives of USAers,

the significant marker which defines who each of us is.

Our culture at its deepest level is founded on class, on its financial and educational inequalities.

We face and interact daily with the continuities and conflicts of class.

It touches and permeates us in every way, in every aspect of our public and private systems.

But in poetry it doesn't matter?—why? because Art exists in a realm separate from Life?


Maybe one of the reasons there has never been such an anthol would be the prohibitive cost of obtaining rights, since, not so ironically, rich poets like Gluck and CK Williams demand exorbitant fees to reprint their verse; your average anthologist has to pay through the nose.

Though of course with POD, anyone anywhere can publish rather cheaply a book collection of Gluck's poems as a private pirate edition and distribute copies of it to the void without ever paying a cent to her richness, if anyone anywhere were of a mind to, that is.


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