Posted 3 Nov 2013

in News

What’s all the fuss about Conceptualism?

At the Muse, we like to keep our anteater-type nose sniffing out interesting contemporary discussions relating to poetry! A substantial article in the Boston Review by Calvin Bedient – ‘Against Conceptualism’ – reinvigorates arguments about poetry of the head and poetry of the heart; where conceptualism finds the expression of strong emotion to be redundant in a cerebral world, with no need for ‘affect’.

Reactions were immediate and Harriet (the Poetry Foundation’s blog) issued a very useful background briefing which provides helpful links to some of the voices contributing to the debate. However, the less helpful title – ‘Responses & [Non]Non-Comforts Re: the ConPo / Affect Debate’ – was perhaps a bit more conceptual than required! Poetry Magazine also responded with a piece by Robert Archambeau – ‘Charmless and Interesting: ‘What Conceptual Poetry Lacks and What It’s Got’ to provide additional colour and context.

PoetryZoo is a platform which welcomes everyone who wants to write poetry, wherever they lie in this fascinating debate. We strongly object to the idea that there is a ‘right’ way to write poetry and that one (elite) group can claim ownership or mastery of the artform. This was the nature of our comment on the original Boston Review piece.

At PoetryZoo, diversity is built into everything that we do. Diversity is not just a practical reality on PoetryZoo, but something to be welcomed and embraced enthusiastically. As we roll out further developments on the site, we will make it ever easier for members to link up with others with whom they share common ground – as well as to discover all different types of poetry. As the PoetryZoo garden grows – rich and fertile! – we will no doubt have many Conceptualist groups, along with Spoken Word groups, Haiku groups, etc, etc, and we will do everything in our power to support everyone to write more and better poetry in the particular form or style of their choice – and to respect the work of others. We are already delighted to see the huge range of voices on PoetryZoo, from all around the world – keep on writing, however you do it!

by The PoetryZoo Keeper