Tim Stafford & Resistant Poetry

After attending the poetry slam on Thursday night, I was thoroughly impressed with Tim Stafford and his idea to create a book of poems that were able to be taught in a class room setting (no foul language, etc.) Not only was this admirable to me since I want to be a teacher, I think it also can be related to our conversation in class about resistant, hard-to-read poetry — is it better? I think we all concluded in some way or another that the reader is the prime factor in this argument. That’s where my vote swings, anyways.

When I was in my sophomore year I took a class on American Literature where we studied a good chunk of Modernism (Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and so on). At first I thought “The Wasteland” and Pound’s work was so dense I would hate it, but after learning some historical background (and reading so so so so many footnotes) I really began enjoying the work, but then again, I’m an English major and like to problem solve and analyze pieces for fun; however, a non-literary friend may not enjoy this so much nor would they get anything really out of it in the end. With Tim, though I wouldn’t say his poetry is engaged, he created\edited work for an audience to learn lessons and be taught, so it needs to be understood and for an age group, whereas engaged poetry I think can definitely be engaged either way and the beauty and the importance of a poem should never be judged on how weirdly cryptic the poem is presented.

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