State of the Art: Video of 1990 lecture
from ThinAir video and Mitch Corber
"State of the Art" was presented at the 1990 Poetry Project Symposium, as a keynote along with lectures by Amiri Baraka and others. The essay was collected in A Poetics, which was published by Harvard University Press in 1992.
This is the opening of the essay:
There is of course no state of American poetry, but states, moods, agitations, dissipations, renunciations, depressions, acquiescences, elations, angers, ecstasies; just as no music to our verse but vastly incompatible musics; no single sentiment but clashes of sentience: the magnificent cacophony of different bodies making different sounds, as different as the hum of Hester Street from the gush of Grand Coulee, the buzz of Central Park on August afternoons from the shrieks of oil‑coated birds in Prince William Sound.
The state of American poetry can be characterized by the sharp ideological disagreements that lacerate our communal field of action, making it volatile, dynamic, engaging. ....
Video by Mitch Corber, courtesy ThinAir Video. Go to the site see see a fine collection of 150 poetry videos by Corber, available only as DVDs.