Apparently there was something of a little dust-up at one of this year’s AWP panels on the subject of “accessibility” in poetry, or the lack thereof. I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure no poets (or poems) were harmed.
Personally, I find these kinds of debates somewhat tedious because
- They presume poetry is an endangered species that must be vigilantly protected lest it go extinct. It’s not, and it won’t.
- They rarely, if ever, seem to address the real underlying issue, which is not what kind of poetry should be written (and read, and taught…) but who gets to decide.
But mostly I just think the whole accessible/inaccessible thing is a false dichotomy: If your building doesn’t have a ramp, it’s not up to code; if it does, it can’t be art.