theparisreview : 

  “What happened to poetry in the twentieth century was that it began to be written for the page. When it’s a question of typography, why not? Poets have done beautiful things with typography—Apollinaire’s  Calligrammes , that sort of thing. But now we are left with people who write only for the page, who feel that a poem is something very far from performance. I spent a short but revealing time years ago teaching poetry to adults in Minneapolis. I would ask them, What do you think you’re writing for? Are you writing to read aloud, or are you writing for the page? They all thought they were writing for the page. They thought there was something wrong if you were aiming in another direction. As part of the program, we went around to places in Minnesota and did poetry readings. I had some poems that were real performance pieces, so I would do those, and I watched this group changing their mind. At the end of the program, I told them, Do yourself the favor, write something you can perform. Don’t write  everything  for the page. If you are going to do a poetry reading, write something you can put across to an audience. I could see it dawning on them that there was a payoff—people like to hear poems written with the idea of performance in mind.” 
 — James Fenton, The Art of Poetry No. 96   

 #catherinewagner

theparisreview:

“What happened to poetry in the twentieth century was that it began to be written for the page. When it’s a question of typography, why not? Poets have done beautiful things with typography—Apollinaire’s Calligrammes, that sort of thing. But now we are left with people who write only for the page, who feel that a poem is something very far from performance. I spent a short but revealing time years ago teaching poetry to adults in Minneapolis. I would ask them, What do you think you’re writing for? Are you writing to read aloud, or are you writing for the page? They all thought they were writing for the page. They thought there was something wrong if you were aiming in another direction. As part of the program, we went around to places in Minnesota and did poetry readings. I had some poems that were real performance pieces, so I would do those, and I watched this group changing their mind. At the end of the program, I told them, Do yourself the favor, write something you can perform. Don’t write everything for the page. If you are going to do a poetry reading, write something you can put across to an audience. I could see it dawning on them that there was a payoff—people like to hear poems written with the idea of performance in mind.”

James Fenton, The Art of Poetry No. 96

#catherinewagner

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