30 mar. 2006

I can be a pluralist and still dislike a good deal, still express that dislike in strong terms. Does anyone think of him or herself as having narrow taste? It is highly unlikely. Everyone knows you're supposed to have broad taste.

So my taste is extremely broad. There is no historical period or geographical region I reject. Of course, it's also *clustered* in certain areas, with clusters inside the clusters. I do prefer Japanese, Chinese, American, South American, Carribean, and West European poetries. I like ancient and modern, with some medieval thrown in. I like Basho and Issa too. Koch and Schuyler.

I like elite styles, neo-baroques, various neo-classicisms from Racine to Pope, romanticisms, and avant-gardes. I also like popular stuff: traditional balladry, Robert Burns, and Elizabethan song. I'm fond of Lorenz Hart and Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin and other Tin Pan Alley lyricists, Po Chu I. I like canonical things and things that are hot off the presses.

I'm not strongly a fan of contemporary free verse lyric confession, Tennyson or even Browning, Spanish neo-classicism, Oscar Hammerstein, or Bob Dylan. I don't like Benedetti, Lowell (Robert or Amy), Russell Edson, Phlip Larkin, Norman Dubie. I see these gaps as insignificant in the larger scheme of things. There are good poets I don't like (Browning, Larkin), and other poets I don't like who are pretty insignificant from a historical perspective (Armando Palacio Valdés.)

I'd like to write the defense of the uncommon reader. The common reader likes poetry from A to A-and-a-half. Pinsky through Collins. The uncommon reader likes poetry from A to beyond Z, with a few gaps along the way. Honestly speaking, nobody likes everything anyway. Don't pretend Pinsky through Collins through Gluck is the entire universe of poetry, or even one one-hundreth part of it. I'd much rather be an uncommon reader because, frankly, there are no limits except time, and not knowing Rumanian and Hungarian and 100 other languages.

1 comentario:

Julie Carter dijo...

I've got very narrow tastes in some things, like fiction, and very broad tastes in some things, like music. I'd say I'm middle of the road in poetry, definitely not as narrow as some, and certainly not as broad as others.

I do think, though, that while I might not like a poem, I don't dismiss it before reading it. I do dismiss works of fiction before reading them, so this is a mini victory. I judge books by their covers all the damned time.