A Crisis of the Personal in Poetry?

I’ve been following some of Ron Silliman’s recent posts about the effect he and Gabe Gudding have been tracing of “McPoem” — cookie-cutter work based on personal experience churned out through the business of MFA programs — on the course of poetry in the past thirty years. Ron’s musings on Gudding seem to imply a strong connection between, “self-expression as a means of growth” and poems expressed badly. I don’t know the inner workings of the multitude of MFA programs available today, but from personal experience as a modern writer navigating the straits between sentimentalism and just mentalism, I can relate to and speak to the notion that poetry should be personal.

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