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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

A Lil’ Bit of Lit. Crit.

What is the place of poetry in modern society?  An unoriginal question, I know.  But, it is clear that, at best, there is a certain collective ambivalence towards it, evidenced by the shrinking sections of poetry in libraries, bookstores, and on personal bookshelves.  Poetry, sadly (or not-so-sadly for others), is often declared to be a dying, if not already dead art form.  While it is fairly easy for even the most casual poetry readers to recite a list of eminent poets—Shakespeare, Milton, Keats, Yeats, Browning, Whitman, Frost, and Plath—one must ask where are our modern poetry crusaders, capturing the despondency and ecstasy of our current generation? Do they even exist? And if we don’t have any contemporary poets, why do we even have poetry critics?

David Orr, a poetry columnist for The New York Times, recently wrote a book entitled Beautiful and Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry in which he provides a lens for poetry neophytes to utilize when drinking their tea, feeling existential, and want to return to that poetry volume they got as a gift from their pretentious friend that one time.  While Orr does not necessarily attempt to bridge the gap between popular media opinions regarding poetry and that of the seemingly impenetrable poetry world, he does try to provide a unique perspective inspired by his own poetic experiences.  He uses his knowledge of poetry combined with some wit and a few ingenious metaphors to give a more approachable method of reading modern poetry for those who are interested.

So why do we have poetry critics for relatively unknown poets?  Well, in following the vein of Orr’s metaphor that advocated approaching poetry like planning a trip to Belgium, we can view Orr, or even a poetry blog, as a tour guide.  But rather than planning a trip to Belgium, why not plan a trip to Ireland?  As Orr intimates, if you want to put the time into reading poetry, it will be worthwhile.  Here at the Wake Forest Irish Press, we continue to battle with the shrinking interest in poetry but rather than accept a position as poetry crypt-keepers, we continue to advocate for the importance of modern poetry and those poetry critics that keep modern poetry within the public media.

If you want more learn more about David Orr and his work you can visit his website here: http://davidorr.com/about/

Posted by Lily


Categories: Lit. Crit.

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