Thursday, June 24, 2010

American Hybrid

I've been reading Cole Swensen's and David St. John's American Hybrid recently, and one of the most interesting concepts in the anthology is that contemporary American poetics has largely moved beyond the concept of the "school"; that is, the reason we don't have our own modern-day Black Mountain Poets or Beats or Romantics is because today's poetry borrows so liberally from so many different—often contradictory—traditions that attempting to classify poets into schools and circles is complicated at best and completely futile at worst. That is to say, there are no more (or relatively few) "purebreds"; we're all mutts now.

The anthology does a lot of things right, chief among which is including work by Harryette Mullen, who just won Poets & Writers' Jackson Poetry Prize and whose Sleeping with the Dictionary is among my favorite poetry collections. Some of my other favorites whose work appears include Ralph Angel, Rae Armantrout, John Ashbery, Mary Jo Bang, D.A. Powell, Bin Ramke, Donald Revell, C.D. Wright, Charles Wright, and Dean Young.

In fact, I'm off to read more of the anthology now. Review possibly to follow.