Newsflash: Poetry is hard

Ok, this article by Sean O'Brien is a little bit more complicated than what my title has you believe. I just couldn't resist poking a little fun.

He raises some interesting points about poetry being somewhat of a paradox; sometimes seeming short and digestible but is often more demanding and complex, which arguably has the potential to alienate a public normally fed on quick sound bites and "facts".

From The Guardian:

The canon also - and here is perhaps a particular source of difficulty - presents a challenge to the reader, of a kind which in our impatient times often produces anxiety and resentment. This is reflected in some of the more desperate marketing moves. Too busy to read a novel? Lacking concentration? Try a bite-size poem. Except that, appearances notwithstanding, a good poem is likely to be as capacious and demanding in its own way as many novels, and to live in the imagination a good deal longer.

The difficulty that readers face owes much to the fundamentally prosaic and utilitarian view of language which dominates our period: speed, impact and "the facts" are pre-eminent. In fact, the deafening roar of the contemporary is as elaborately rhetorical in its way as any other language-use, but just as readers sometimes mistake literary realism for reality, and find non-realist work intolerable in consequence, so they are encouraged to confuse the banal with the actual. As Marx observed: "All that is solid melts into air" - in this case into noise, the Babel of mass disempowerment.

More here.

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