And anyway, the adjective “radical,” when applied to the noun “poet,” is redundant. Any person worth calling a poet (and there are far fewer of these than we might prefer) writes poetry because more basic modes of communication (like the emoticon-caulked prose of texting, say) just won’t do—because basic communication isn’t the point. “All poetry is experimental poetry,” wrote Stevens. In other words, all poets are always already “radical” or “experimental” or “innovative.” This isn’t to suggest that good poets haven’t occasionally huddled around some hub, mimeographed or e-mailed a manifesto, and declared themselves an avant-garde; this is only to suggest that all poets are mavericks, whether they, or their circle, choose to brand themselves as such or not.
- Jason Guriel, from the October 2009 issue of Poetry. Read the whole thing here.