... Most poets pride themselves on mastery of an extremely elite use of language and allusion that requires a specialized and high-level education of its reader. What I hear from my non-poet friends repeatedly is that picking up a contemporary book of poetry more often than not makes them feel stupid, frustrated, and ultimately discouraged.
The trouble here is I really don’t know a lot of poets who’d sacrifice exclusivity and prestige in favour of clear communication and fresh takes on contemporary issues for a broader audience. It’s a conundrum. If these individuals applied the same amount of effort to writing innovative, relevant, and accessible work that they do pleasing a handful of gatekeepers, then poetry would blow up like Beyoncé. I’m sure of it.
- Robin Richardson, in interview with James Lindsay over at Open Book Toronto. You can read the whole thing here.