Hokum From the Last Century
1. The poet is a child of nature, and free verse expresses the free spirit.
2. Poetry represents an alternative to oppressive dominant discourses.
3. Form is nothing but the extension of content.
4. Content = subject-matter. Form = language.
5. The poem is an autotelic object.
6. A poem is measured by its political valence, as interpreted by progressive forces.
7. A poem is an organic, living thing.
8. Artifice is reactionary and conventional.
9. There is a battle for the soul of American poetry between commercial/conservative vs. radical/progressive elements.
10. Poetry is an institution managed by well-expressed and influential opinions.
11. Poetry is a thing.
12. Words are things.
13. The materiality of language undermines meaning.
14. Referentiality is a superficial illusion.
15. Surfaces are the only reality.
16. Meaning is essentially political.
17. Truth is relative to interest.
18. Poetry is a mode of language use.
19. Technical skill is a matter of strict metrics.
20. Un-metrical poetry is basically flawed.
21. The main struggle in American poetry is between formalism and free verse.
22. The main struggle in American poetry is between popular pap and rigorous marginality.
23. The main struggle in American poetry is between liberated street visionaries and academic elitist pedants.
24. etc. have a good weekend