Original Detail in Poetry

Poetry is all about the details right? The more personal the better and the more the better. As a matter of fact – if you have enough interesting detail you do not need anything else right? That is the voice of much of contemporary poetry. I have a differing view.

Detail too easily takes the place of good content in contemporary writing. Personal details are easy and very seductive. Detail should serve the poem, not be the poem. There are too many poems today that are the indulgent recordings of someones personal details. The good poets, the poets with the meat on their poem’s bones have a purpose that the details serve. However, so many publishers are like oooho and ahhhhh, what rich personal detail! – that must be a good poem. Give me a poem that makes me think, that ask questions of the world… that can be read like an onion, not that simply describes an onion. I call the kind of poetry that over indulges the use or personal detail over content – kitchen sink poetry and the literary world in inundated by it… and the intellect suffers for it, indeed the heart suffers.

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