Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

6/16/2004

I just realized that Poetry magazine is essentially a pulp, the Analog of poetry...pretty much the same size...originating from (roughly) the same era (or rather Poetry began peaking at the time of Campbell's "heyday", back when Analog was Astounding, coming from a tradition and lexicon of poetry rooted in High Modernism for the former and Gernsbackisms for the latter; moreover, they both have the utmost faith in their respective lexicons and really don't see the need to alter their courses; things have been JUST FINE and IGNORE the barbarians at all costs!

Would have been interesting to see how long Poetry would have doddered on if that old loon didn't give the magazine 100 million dollars. Now Poetry gets a huge dose of hydrocortizone, or methadone, or whatever. I'm sure it will zombie along for the next 100 years and provide great kindling after the nuclear winter.

Which will be the first (or rather, next) of the science fiction digests to fold?

4 Comments:

At 6/16/2004 09:57:00 AM, Blogger Matthew Cheney said...

That makes perfect sense. What brought on this revelation?

Actually, I had a great experience regarding Poetry once -- the University of New Hampshire was building a new library, so their magazine collection was stored in the basement of another building and was completely open for students to paw through. Finding what seemed to be a complete set of Poetries, I looked up the issue with "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". And there it was. The only comparable feeling might have been discovering the first issue of Amazing or the Weird Tales with Tennessee Williams's first story in it. Or the July '39 Astounding.

 
At 6/16/2004 02:23:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Hey Matt...I think it was just the physical package, the small size and the ugly covers.

_Poetry_ definitely had some good years--and some very good years. Earlier they were much more open to publishing at least a taste of everything; e.g., all of the great Modernists, of course, but also the New York school, the Black Mountain poets, and writers like Zukofsky. At some point though, it just calcified. Now when they say that they want "the best poetry regardless of style", (a paraphrase) it's just not true. They've ceded the vital center. When I was in my MFA program, there was still a sense of really "making it" if you got into Poetry. I wasn't aware then just how much good poetry they were ignoring. I think there's definite parallels with SF's big digests. Which isn't to say that good work CAN'T be published in those places; it's just not the be all and end all, to say the least.

 
At 6/16/2004 04:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Alan,

Much of the standard lit mags are working in a similar vein, that I've seen.

However, I will say that Astounding was never really in a Gernbackian mood (maybe pre-Campbell). Maybe you meant Campbellian?

Trent

 
At 6/18/2004 06:05:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Cheney said...

Yes, I agree completely about Poetry nowadays -- I wasn't disputing that at all. "Soporific" would be a generous adjective for most of what they publish. Even the SF digests at least have some good years now and then -- I think F&SF is in one right now -- but I've kept my eye on Poetry for at least the last decade, and it's just monotonous.

Here's something, too: 2 of the only issues of it that I have are ones that were owned by Donald Hall. Even he throws it out these days!

 

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