Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top Ten Things Wrong With NP's Critique-let of Erin Moure

(Because Reimer never met a fray she didn't belatedly jump on.)

"Cryptic without being particularly interesting, stricken with various political and linguistic theories, and barren of the sort of grace one typically looks to poetry to provide, it’s all too easy to take a pass on."

1. Use of the adjective barren in a micro-review of a woman. (But at least they didn’t call her hysterical!)

2. Multiple nominations for the GG seen as a bad thing.

3. Assumption that readers of poetry are looking for “grace.” (When I’m in the mood for a little grace, I go to the ballet. Or think about my grandmother. Or watch my cat eviscerate a mouse. Or read Hallmark cards. I’d like to suggest that there are many others who aren’t interested in graceful poetry.)

4. “Without being particularly interesting.” According to whom? By what criteria, and what evidence?

5. “Stricken…..with various….theories.” OMG, theory! Quick, somebody, medic!

6. Moure held up as a straw figure to explain poetry’s lack of mass audience.

7. Moure given the “nod for being so prolific and so honoured.” Oh, so it’d be ok if her output was smaller.

8. Seriously, can we call a moratorium on descriptors of women artists that reference the womb?

9. The editors dislike of politics and/or linguistics as a component of poetics. Because that makes it too “cryptic.”

10. “…it’s all too easy to take a pass on.” How did your editors let that awkward sentence pass (on) by (them)?


Nikki Reimer is the author of [sic] (Frontenac House, 2010). She lives in Vancouver, where she volunteers for the Kootenay School of Writing collective and chronicles the East Van Cats.


Lemon Hound said...

Succinct. Boom. Stttt!

Shannon Maguire said...

strongly agree!

larger issues at stake behind the article itself:

1) nowhere is there evidence that books by any of the writers mentioned have actually been read. No intellegent analysis supported by qotation for instance.

2) reading isn't the point. in fact, NOT READING is... (so shuddup and believe what i say!)

3)reading and thinking are taken as antithetical propositions.

in fact, this kind of unproductive discourse is an attack on the arts. but consider the source...

anyway, i'm going back to my omnivorous close reading practice...which seems to be a radical act in itself these days!

meanwhile: bring on more super-interesting books by poets like Moure whose work makes readers think! and well written reviews and blog posts too...

Daniel Zomparelli said...

If all poetry is supposed to be graceful, I am royally fucked.

Also, great points Nikki, as usual.

nikki reimer said...

Omnivorous close reading yes!

Garry said...

I found Anis Shivani's list more insightful and interesting, as sometimes there is a usefulness in trying to get past the hype of books that sell a lot while other (often superlative material is ignored, eh, poets?)

However, this riff was rather abyssmal. Dooney's Cafe had a better ongoing discussion in a similar vein. I'm not familiar enough with her poetry, but I have no idea why Erin Moure would be included in such a list, but I don't feel her work is by any means overexposed, not like some things, heh heh.

Mark D Dunn said...

A big Yes to your response, Nikki.
Why pick on Mouré? Or any Canadian poet, for that matter. She's not exactly prominent.