Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tony Hoagland on Loftiness

From Tony Hoagland's essay collection Real Sofistikashun:
"And here is one explanation for the lack of rhetorical experiment in much contemporary work: we are constrained by our own belief in the precious individuality of the poet, and by our conviction that poetry equals sincerity. We are oddly ready to become poets by getting down and dirty with the details of our private lives, but oddly unwilling to get lofty and public in our speech."
This impulse towards rhetoric and public speech in poetry is one I've felt keenly over the last several months. What's interesting to me is the task of reclaiming that hilltop for poetry while engaging in the kind of personal exploration that can so powerfully propel a poem along. As usual, I want it both ways.

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