Friday, July 31, 2009

Big Bridge Oppen and Slow Poetry features

The new Big Bridge includes features on Slow Poetry (ed. Dale Smith) and George Oppen (ed. Eric Hoffman), the latter of which includes a review I wrote of Oppen's Selected Prose, Daybooks, and Papers in the winter/spring of 2008.

"Last summer when I began writing about Slow Poetry, I wondered if poetry that dramatized the dark and stupid could matter much longer. So I began framing raw questions that might help myself and others respond meaningfully to these dark and stupid times. I wondered how I could make sense of what's happening around us through poetry, through art? Perhaps Slow Poetry could be a way to help orient attention again in art to the world. I liked the term, too—Slow Poetry—because it associates with Slow Food and that now-global movement's linking of pleasure for food with a commitment to community and the environment. If we can enjoy poetry—itself an essential form of nourishment—why not also take into account the contexts of its making and reception?"
--Dale Smith

"...I asked contributors to provide essays approaching particular Oppen poems, focusing primarily upon Oppen's aesthetics and prosody, together with critical reactions to recent Oppen scholarship (in particular Cope (2007), Heller and Nicholls (both 2008)). This was only the most general of requests as I wanted as little restriction as possible discussion of the work. As Oppen himself wrote, he could not bring himself to write poetic "exercises," nor did not want my contributors to be forced to contribute critical ones. It was therefore with great pleasure when I received these essays, which I believe represent a significant move forward in Oppen scholarship, marking both the distance Oppen scholarship has come since the work of Cuddihy and Hatlen at the same time pointing the way forward for the Oppen scholarship to come."
--Eric Hoffman

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