the question of how we write about poetry is related to how we talk about poetry. do we talk about poetry as such? many times ive met poets whose work interests me, & realised later that we didnt talk of poetry at all - but the poetry world. critical articles seem to generate more discussion than poems. its not the age of criticism any longer, but its still easier to talk about criticism. randall jarrell goes into this in some detail. i think this is partly because i mostly read critical pieces in journals, & though i read poems in journals too, i dont appreciate them there as much as i do in books (i think?) in a book i am taking time - if not with a particular poem, with a poet & its rare to find someone reading the same books of poetry at the same time as me .. i am reading duty now with all of you! .. & yet theres a tendency (on this blog) for me to write more about the criticism of duty than duty itself. i havent really learned how to talk about poetry. when offered the opportunity by someone who can, i falter, i have no memory, i dont have depth, i have perhaps a perfunctory judgment to make. i am fascinated by the poetry world but i do read poetry all the time. i mean several times a day. at the moment im actively reading about 15 different books, & maybe i should stick to duty a bit more. wouldnt critical writing be so much easier if it came out of our conversation? another factor is that i talk obsessively about aspects of poetry with poets because it seems difficult to do so with others - people who are happy to talk about many other different arts - were back at jarrells cocktail parties here - blogs of course create a conversation - & people are interested in blogs as a conversation topic - well some people - i guess im more the obsessive rather than objective cultural type - which is dying out faster? - the blog generation - in at least 2 senses of 'generation' is an effect of a lack - but could be a parallel action - im interested to read about others experiences of & thoughts on talking about poetry (with non-tax people).