August 11, 2008

ready for something new

"We are at the start of a century, and that, in the past, has marked new beginnings for the art. Pound and Eliot launched Modernism in the opening years of the twentieth century (...) But it's not really a matter of calendar. American poetry is ready for something new because our poets have been writing in the same way for a long time now. There is fatigue, something stagnant about the poetry being written today (...) A new poetry becomes necessary not because we want one, but because the way poets have learned to write no longer captures the way things are, how things have changed. Reality outgrows the art form: the art form is no longer equal to the reality around it."

john barr (Omaha, NE, 1943), excerpted from the article American Poetry in the New Century, originally printed in Poetry, volume 188, number 5, september 2006

Further reading:

Newsmakers: John Barr, President, Poetry Foundation (Philanthropy News Digest)

So What Do You Do, John Barr? (

Poetry and Investment Banking: It's All about Risk (Knowledge@Wharton, University of Pennsylvania)

A Passion for Poetry (And Profits); Charting a Literary Course With $100 Million (The New York Times)

Poetry Starts to Wear $100 Million Crown (The New York Times)

The Moneyed Muse (The New Yorker)

Annals of Poetry (The New York Times)

A Windfall Illuminates the Poetry Field, and Its Fights (The New York Times)


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