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Brother Mark is a pseudonym of The Reverend Dr Robert Jaggs-Fowler, a clergyman, physician, writer and poet. His biography can be found at: www.robertjaggsfowler.com

Friday, May 04, 2007

Traditional versus Contemporary Poetry

I will stick my head above the parapet and ask the question:

'What is wrong with writing in a traditional form?'

I pose the question for the following reason.

Not so long ago, I had reason to show some of my work to a tutor at the Hull University. His reply was that my style was 'archaic' and I 'ought to read more contemporary poetry'.

I accept this as a valid personal view. However, why is it deemed to be 'wrong' if a modern poet chooses to emulate the style of past masters? Why is it that such devices are now 'only considered in parody'. We do not all choose to shun antique furniture or criticise the craftsman who emulates the same by producing reproduction furniture. On the contrary, the same is often revered and carries a high value. Why then is it considered to be the 'role' of the modern poet to perpetuate contemporary styles and frowned upon when traditional approaches are used?

I ask this, not as a matter of 'sour grapes' but to assist me in understanding the mindset which dictates what is 'right' or 'wrong' with our styles.

If you have a view on this issue, please feel free to comment.