Experience

17 March 2008

Okay this was how I was going to start this editorial:

As themes go, this issue's is, if nothing else, topical. Hillary Clinton's whole campaign in the run up to the presidential nomination will live or die on the basis of experience. Short of letting you know how much time I have spent on youtube watching the democratic debates, or where my allegiances lie with regard to the nominees, I can tell you the worth of having 'experience' in this particular race is seen as somewhat of a liability, when pitted against an idea of 'change.' An idea that experience results in a kind of petrification or stasis: an inability to break patterns of behaviour, move, forward or otherwise. Where in this is the notion that experience teaches? that experience is capital of a kind on which –

I don't know about you, but I've bored myself senseless already. I can't even bring myself to make something of the above. Rather I'd like to speak about the experience of selecting poetry for, not only this issue of Cordite, but also previous issues of which I was poetry editor.

In my experience poems that are centered are bad! Perhaps I should qualify this comment in saying that in most cases the content of these poems fail to argue strenuously for the form they ultimately take. It seems an attempt to give form to what is a confusion of ideas and imagery. A kind of thoughtlessness that proposes thought by taking a physical shape; bilaterally symmetrical, balanced. Yes there are exceptions, but generally –

Ditto poems in which flowers appear!

Ditto poems written in a cursive font!

I've struggled with a desire to comment on the poems I have selected for this issue (which to an extent is the expectation of an editorial) and a counter-desire to let their selection be that commentary. The latter has won out, rather than temper the reader's intake of them any further with my own subjectivity.

Suffice it to say I am drawn to poems that raise questions (this is not to say that they also have to answer them), that use language in an interesting way, that demonstrate an understanding of the ideas they put forward, that know that the experience itself is not enough – something must be made of it. Once craft and content are considered it is the barometer of my own experience as a poet, as a human being that moves me most decisively in one direction or the other.

Ditto poems in which flowers appear!

Ditto poems written in a cursive font!

Ok this was how I was going to finish this editorial:

As themes go, this issue's is, if nothing else, topical. Hillary Clinton's whole campaign in the run up to the presidential nomination will live or die on the basis of experience. Short of letting you know how much time I have spent on youtube watching the democratic debates, or where my allegiances lie with regard to the nominees, I can tell you the worth of having 'experience' in this particular race is seen as somewhat of a liability, when pitted against an idea of 'change.' An idea that experience results in a kind of petrification or stasis: an inability to break patterns of behaviour, move, forward or otherwise. Where in this is the notion that experience teaches? that experience is capital of a kind on which – (read on).

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