Thursday 2 October 2008

Yet reviewed in Sphinx

There's a conscientious review of Yet by Eleanor Livingstone, though I'm afraid the book was lost on "The Young Reader," as I would expect it to be. (If one has no experience of reading experimental poetry, if one doesn't just try to ride the associations and sounds, of course the work will appear impenetrable.)


  1. Anonymous2:42 am

    Sorry Carrie, I don't find that a thorough enough defence / explanation of your work. I'm an admirer of many experimental poets and often show their work to young writers without any of the knee-jerk response you seem to be assuming here.

    Why should a reader 'need experience' to give a valued response? Why are you assuming the reader was 'just trying...' to do whatever? If you offer us only 'associations and sounds', why and how should we second guess you?


  2. Hi, Roddy. It wasn't meant as a defence or explanation--otherwise it wouldn't be so brief, and I think once you hear me out, you'll see it wasn't a knee-jerk response. The Young Reader talks a lot about trying to find a code and trying to decode my work, and I think that is a fault in the way poetry is often taught in secondary school (largely from what I've learned from the hundreds of first-year students I've worked with at Bath Spa). It's not that the reader needs experience to give a valued response (and I do value his response, his time, as is), but that the way he's been taught (his past experience with poetry thus far) doesn't work with certain kinds of poetry, where the modus operandi differs. "Assocations and sounds" was simply a shorthand way of contrasting a poetry that works by symbol/image patterns/"code" with the kind of writing I was doing. I don't expect anyone to second guess me--that's the whole point, there's nothing to second guess! It was only when I began approaching poets like Ashbery and Hejinian in that frame of mind that I began appreciating what they were doing, and I wish somebody had told me that earlier.