25 February 2005

Thank you, Robyn

Thank you, Robyn, for she wrote me a card saying how much she had been amazed by Poetica and their airing of the American poet, Alicia Ostriker [link]. Thank you because I listened to the repeat which caught me by surprise last night (I had turned the radio off on the weekend as sometimes silence is very attractive). And without Robyn's prompting I would have missed it.

What I heard I enjoyed; but what I heard was also something I had been looking for: the source of the echo I hear in so many contemporary poets. In some circles I have been hearing a sameness, a monotonous sameness, and I have been thinking, there must be someone all these people are imitating, or maybe reading and not realising they are imitating.

And there it was, thank you Robyn: I think these poets I worry about have been imitating Ostriker... Which is not in any way to diminish Ostriker. But I do wonder if poets are conscious enough of the voices in their heads, or careless about what they let seep into their own work -- especially their reading aloud of their own work, that "hushed" special voice that is the voice we never use in real life ...

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