This week at Bookslut, I’ve posted an interview with Joe Wenderoth, author of Letters to Wendy’s and, last month, No Real Light. We talk about YouTube and poetic performance, about political poetry, the fate of poets in the American University, and much else:
And most disturbing of all, from my point of view, is that so few people in the poetry world seem really disturbed about how poorly it’s going. That makes me cynical—makes me question whether these folks really care about poetry. It seems to me that if you really care about poetry, you have to be struck by how pathetic it has become. It’s almost completely subsidized, and the handful of poets who actually sell books outside of the “you are required to read this” realm—well, their notoriety seems more inexplicable than the academic subsidizing beneath them. Rita Dove? Robert Hass? It’s bizarre. As for the way in which the academic world “keeps alive” poetry in some fashion, I suppose that some of that is real, but your question remains. What could American poetry be if it was not owned/subsidized/authenticated by academia—would it dwindle to an even lesser phenomenon or would it begin to become more capable of judging itself seriously? I don’t know.
As ever, read the whole thing!