Marilyn Hacker

“Poetry seems to have been eliminated as a literary genre, and installed instead, as a kind of spiritual aerobic exercise – nobody need read it, but anybody can do it.”

– Marilyn Hacker

5 thoughts on “Marilyn Hacker

  1. Dick

    I’m puzzled by this statement. What’s its provenance? Poetry may not be stacking them three deep in the bookshops or venues, but I would have thought that the internet alone provided evidence enough of its continued flowering as a literary genre.

  2. Michelle Post author

    Hello Dick. I may be wrong, but it’s my understanding that Hacker is saying while many people write poetry, less read it, or believe they need to read it in order to improve their writing.

  3. dale

    Far more true in the States (and maybe SA?) than in England, I think. Poetry is what you write in creative writing classes or finding-yourself workshops. Literature classes are on novels or plays.

  4. Michelle Post author

    Hi Dale.

    It is, perhaps, a purist perspective (and it is only a perspective), but I believe she has a point with “nobody need read it, but anybody can do it”. I’ve met people who don’t read anybody else’s poetry. They don’t buy poetry collections because they believe it will influence their “natural style”. I believe that’s misinformed. I think your best chance of improving your writing is to read as much poetry as you can lay your hands on. And, if you can afford it, I believe it’s important to support poets and poetry presses, to buy poetry books, not only read poetry on the internet.

  5. johemmant

    I read, read, read……..constantly, two or three new poets a week, stuff online. It is a joy and it is also vital…….I agree, you can’t be a poet unless you read other people’s poetry, particularly contemporary poetry.

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