Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-26-2001, 05:14 AM
Jeanne Jeanne is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Bloomington, MN
Posts: 57
Post

I'm new to this list and have been enjoying sampling some of your discussions.

I have several of Mary Oliver's books and have enjoyed her
rapturous nature poems. But I've noticed she's not always
included in poetry anthologies. Why is this do you think?

Jeanne
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-26-2001, 06:52 AM
Gary Keenan Gary Keenan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: New York, NY USA
Posts: 534
Post

Jeanne,
Mary Oliver, like many prolific poets, has a somewhat uneven reputation. See Joan Houlihan's latest Boston Comment column on WebDelSol.com for the lesser view of her work. I happen to enjoy Mary Oliver rather more than Joan does. As to why Oliver is not more widely anthologized, perhaps she or her publishers have not granted permissions.

Or perhaps the problem is a general alienation from the natural world, which makes Oliver's poems sound dated and weakly imagined. Or that, as Houlihan suggests, Oliver is rewriting the same poem over and over, and editors have tired of that poem. Or that her best poems are too long for anthology format, or too uncompromising in subject matter and voice.

I like a good anthology but find they are rare, and far prefer to get a large dose from a single poet than samples from many, unless the anthology has a very strong focus, like ballads or Elizabethan lyrics, or a jolly editor like Palgrave.

Best regards,
Gary
Quote:
Originally posted by Jeanne:
I'm new to this list and have been enjoying sampling some of your discussions.

I have several of Mary Oliver's books and have enjoyed her
rapturous nature poems. But I've noticed she's not always
included in poetry anthologies. Why is this do you think?

Jeanne
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-26-2001, 02:28 PM
MacArthur MacArthur is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,317
Post

By all means, let us praise Mary Oliver-- more poets should model themselves on her, if they are going to write that kind of accessible Free Verse. She does it legitimately-- you can pretty much look at any MO poem and decide whether you think it's fresh or stale, tight or slack, significant or trite, competant or fumbled. That's a kind of integrity...she throws herself on the mercy of her audience-- but at least the attempt is there, and it's easy to tell when she has failed. She has no Academic or Post-Modernist postures to hide behind.

For Gary, I wanted to say something I never got around to saying on another thread: the above is largely true of Ashbery too, and to his credit. His is a sort of honest Avant-Gardeisme...and curiously old-fashioned. If you accept his premises, there are at least some loose guidelines you can use to judge his individual poems, and the efforts of others so-inspired. This is a lot different from some Post-Modernist phony, who plays on the reluctance of the contemporary audience to condemn gestures the audience isn't quite sure it understands.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-27-2001, 01:16 PM
Michael Juster Michael Juster is offline
Distinguished Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Belmont MA
Posts: 4,778
Post

I have to dissent here. Ashbery is as dishonest as they come, a poet who uses distracting veneers to mask his hollowness. While I agree that Oliver is more "honest' than Ashbery, I do not understand her following. I heard her read at Harvard and was baffled by the large number of fans who who went into ecstasy at what seemed like repetitive banalities to me. If you must read recent American free verse, it seems to me that Richard Hugo or Linda Pastan would be better objects of attention. Even better yet would be some of the foreign poets--Montale, for instance.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-27-2001, 04:09 PM
cgaver cgaver is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 74
Post

Alicia just posted a lead to an article entitled, "Poets Who Publish Too Much" at
http://webdelsol.com/f-bostoncomment.htm

that includes Mary Oliver and her work. You'll find more commentary about the piece under "The Discerning Eye's" thread header for Eratosphere.

Michael, your comment about Oliver's trance-like reception made me think of commentary I've heard and discussions I've participated in in regards to performance poetry vs. poets better read on the page. Fascinating all the permutations of this subculture of ours...
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 7,915
Total Threads: 19,392
Total Posts: 250,347
There are 183 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online