How about the implications of that metaphor? Still, the writer writing the following deplores the situation that he describes below and believes to be true:
I also think poets are no longer taught the art of “judgment”, or evaluative criticism…”good” and “bad” are simply not supposed to be the way we look at things—they are more apt to look at how poems work, the various contexts behind poems and at poets themselves, as, perhaps, one big happy family of the like-minded engaged in a collective project which will lift them all equally to whatever degree of importance poetry can still have in public life.
Huh. The above does not seem to me to be a comment that shows an understanding of the art of judgment. It seems general, willfully subjective, and totally lacking in evidence. Did I forget to mention pompous and wrong?
A lot of poets obviously know how to judge poetry and spend a lot of time doing it, whatever they were or weren’t taught and by whom. Anybody think I’m wrong about that? Sure, many people—maybe most—have poor judgment, when it comes to poems or anything else. But does anybody think that poor judgment is a recent development in the history of literature or that it’s something that has been created by recent changes in what aspiring poets learn in school, unlike the good old days when people were really taught how to read poems?
I’m not going to say, here, who this writer is, since my goal isn’t to insult anyone but to encourage all of us wonderfully trained evaluators to evaluate just a little more carefully what we ourselves are saying. You can find out easily enough who said this if you want. Let’s just say that he takes himself to be a commentator of some significance upon contemporary poetry, and that other people seem to believe he is one.
It’s not that I expect every person writing a blog or participating in a blog discussion to avoid big statements or resist generalized accusations addressed to the aether. Let’s face it: they’re all over the place. It’s just that I’m thinking, were I to receive an undergraduate student paper with comments like this in it, the paper would look like C material to me. “On what grounds do you make this claim?” is one of the main comments I make about weak undergraduate paragraphs.
Note to well-respected literary critics: please evaluate contemporary writing well enough to get at least a B in an undergraduate lit course at Cal State San Marcos, okay?
Guess my spring break’s over.