I'm long enough out of the loop now, that I no longer feel much of a need to argue with academics over the nature of high versus low art. But, as I read quite a bit of Wallace Stevens and Elizabeth Bishop these last few weeks, I was struck this morning by a considerably clarifying thought:
I'm not interested in being "impressed" by poetry.
Especially poetry that the academy feels I should be impressed by.
No... I want to be touched... I want to be healed... I want to be inspired...
I want to come away with what Tom Boyd, a belovéd professor of philosophy at OU, once called to my face (as he tightly clenched my hand in his): that "Mmmm Thing!"
I want it like a boot to my gut. I want it to "burn a hole right through me," as Bukowski once said. Or something very close to it. That's it. That's what I want.
And the poetry that does it to me is very rare.
Especially in academia.