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Pulitzer Again Awards Poetry Prize to Prose

In its award of the 2013 Pulitzer prize for poetry to Sharon Olds' book "Stag's Leap," Pulitzer once again shows that it has no appreciation for what makes "poetry" poetry.  Sharon Olds' exploration in free verse of the details of her recent divorce is not poetry (speaking of poetry as high art) and is not even verse.  It evinces a total misunderstanding of what makes for a poem as art, and Pulitzer would do well to read my second blog above as to how  poems as art are written.


 

In an interview, Olds addressed the aims of her "poetry," saying:  "I think that my work is easy to understand because I am not a thinker" [subsequently qualified to mean "not an abstract thinker"); "I write the way I perceive, I guess.  It's not really simple, I don't think, but it's about ordinary things - feeling about things, about people . . . .  And I'm interested in ordinary life."  She added:  "Just being an ordinary observer and liver and feeler and letting the experience get through you onto the notebook with the pen, through the arm, out of the body, onto the page, without distortion."

The one thing Ms. Olds' poems are not about is language, poetic language, as opposed to the ordinary language of everyday speech, flat and at street level.  A good start for Olds would be to start with words, heightened and sensory words, rather than with ordinary feelings.  Perhaps the persons responsible for awarding what is reported to be the most prestigious award in poetry might follow suit and lead a return to true poetry rather than following the flock who in the 1960s consigned poetry to so-called "poets" who know nothing about how poems as high art are written. 


 

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Vocation: Wall Street Trial Lawyer (Retired)
Avocation: Poetry and Poetics
Studied poetry with Jose Garcia Villa 1970-1997
Writer and Publisher of Poetry

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Guest Wednesday, 22 November 2017