“Midwest poetry has fallen asleep in a hammock of flyover blandness.”


In an interview earlier this year, Mr.[James] Reiss called for a return to poems devoted to narration.

“In 2016, many poets in my generation aren’t fond of telling stories,” he said. “When I published my first poem in the New York Times [on Jan. 21, 1962], some of the coolest new poets, Robert Bly and William Stafford, inaugurated a Midwest renaissance that deployed poems . . . like James Wright’s ‘Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota.’ Many of these poems extolled the pastoral simplicity of snowy fields and trees with unbreakable branches. . . . These days, with notable exceptions, Midwest poetry has fallen asleep in a hammock of flyover blandness. Some recent chic poems seem to be written by handheld devices in bicoastal enclaves.”

Poet and novelist believed in the power of narration – Thomas Frisbie – Chicago Sun Times –  12/8/16

Lake Street

Sheathed between steak houses
***in his shop under the Green Line,
the sharpener’s knife gave off sparks.

Read rest of poem 

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