Review of American Hyrbrid

Johannes Goransson has a very astute and revitalizing review of American Hybrid:  A Norton Anthology of New Poetry, edited by Cole Swensen and David St.John, in the latest Rain Taxi.

I believe this review is quite relevant in how it points out the flaws in choosing to group poetic schools/camps/movements, as opposed to speaking of their differences.  One could easily accept that a Norton Anthology would do this; however, this particular anthology sets up to clarify the hybrid but in turn further occludes it by assuming the valuable diversity of poets can be spoken of  in a uniform way.  Don’t get me wrong–there is much to celebrate in this anthology, mostly the poets themselves, who are all accomplished and perfectly capable of producing their own work, but what becomes irksome is the pattern in which some critics and editors take, the pattern of bringing things into the same arena by shaving off the particularities and putting larger themes as the one and all connected statue in which the work of these poet’s gets viewed.  Can’t we leave such discussions on their own, as part of just connectivity and not sameness?  It is great that the work of these poets can be talked about in one arena, but not that an arena needed to be created in order for one to do so.  Let connectivity be just that and the differences be not only outlined but highlighted, celebrated for what they are–differences that keep the academies from pocketing poetry.


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