Robert Archambeau writes a chipper report on Brit Poetry Wars in the Chicago Review. But the debate between Wilkinson & Riley over poetry/politics - Riley's critique of what seems to be a bent toward Language-purism and hands-off politics, stemming from a failure to distinguish between the two (poetry & politics) - well, this sounds like an echo of old debates on the Buffalo Poetics List of 10 years ago. Can't we get beyond these parameters somehow? Of course, British authors have a knack for saying whatever they say very authoritatively ("ne'er so well express'd")...

It seems like a continual re-statement of basics (though I pretty much agree with Riley's position). No, aesthetics is not politics, nor vice versa. No, poetry is not only a purification rite for a particular stream of left-religion (though it may be for some people). No, poetry in general, or particular "schools" of same, will not save us from capitalism, global warming, war, etc. (though particular poems might help).

Most poetry expresses shared values & trends of the moment; thus the "poetry wars" on various continents reflect ideological fractures in the cultural/intellectual spheres of the time. I think the aim of the poet (or dramatist or novelist), however, is to dig deeper : without surrendering fundamental principles, to find shared (if unacknowledged) ground, and to provide models of reconciliation.

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