good writing is good thinking committed to print

Michael Lista: This is all very, very fine work, and though the thinking is extravagant, it’s never gaudy, or at the expense of the lyric.

This is part of the reason why Pure Product is such a noteworthy book; the generation of Canadian poets who came before us, Mark (you, Guriel, and I are all about the same age) force fed us the fallacy that one must either be a thinking poet or a singing poet. One was either avant-garde or lyric. What no one wants to admit is that most of the so-called avant-garde poets can’t write, and most of the so-called lyric poets can’t think. Guriel strikes a bold middle ground; he consistently strives to overlay serious lyricism with serious aesthetic commentary, and he does so with grace, effortlessness, and humour.

Mark Callanan: You say that Guriel “strives to overlay serious lyricism with serious aesthetic commentary.” I think that’s a valuable point to consider, how his poems successfully combine intellectual inquiry (and specifically, inquiry into aesthetic concerns) with deft lyricism. Guriel’s poems are proof of what should already be obvious to us as readers: good writing is not empty guff, like the voice actor whose rich baritone sells useless gadgetry—pretty to listen to but empty of anything approaching meaningful insight; good writing is good thinking committed to print.

- Michael Lista and Mark Callanan on Jason Guriel's Pure Product. Read the whole exchange here. Thanks to Zach Wells for pointing this out.

1 comment:

daniela elza said...


Good poetry to me has always been the combination of thinking and singing: thinking aesthetically. It is the brief ecstatic dance that Bringhurst talks about. It is real.
The rest is pretense, posturing, and doing poetry for the wrong reasons.

The techniques one uses is another issue. There is a lot of poetry in prose as well. But unless our rhyme combines with reason we are just playing little games. We are just building containers with not much contents.