the reading of poetry is not structured into the meaning of poetry

The Toronto Quarterly: Do you think poetry is currently going through some kind of resurgence these days or is it still pretty much ignored by the masses?

David McGimpsey: Poetry, as a material commodity, is not meant for mass consumption. If there was poetry admired by the masses, it would quickly not be considered "poetry" by the elite institutions which structure meaning around the idea of poetry. Poetry is certainly going through a boon as a hobby and as cherished practice. I imagine the institutional support of MFA programs everywhere allows and fosters that affection among thousands. It has created a different marketplace over time, I think, and one where the reading of poetry is not structured into the meaning of "poetry". As such, "poetry" exists more as a social ideology to support the middle class. Facebook and Twitter are compelling recruitment tools and have brought focus and cohesion to the world of poetry in ways which once seemed utterly impossible. I'm not shaking my cane at the "kids of today" for not knowing who Ed Dorn or whoever is (who cares?), but saying the market is now centred around the function of creative writing as a social force rather than reading actual books of poetry.

- David McGimpsey, in interview with The Toronto Quarterly. You can read the whole thing here.

No comments: