American Life In Poetry

For more than a year now I've been receiving ex-US poet laureate Ted Kooser's weekly poetry columns called American Life in Poetry* by e-mail and have never before been so consistently diametrically opposed to a poetry selection. I've even come up with a generic term for the kind of stuff Kooser tends to choose: clod-stuck poetry. (Also see my earlier post Poetry and Abstraction.)

This poetry is all wheelbarrow. It mostly looks like it's coming from the William Carlos Williams corner of the American poetic tradition, but when Williams said "No ideas but in things," he meant that things needed to be transcended. And this is not happening in much of the work Kooser picks – things remain at the thing level.

*All the poems can be seen here.

– Iself

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