Chicago's annual Printer's Row Book Fair is on Saturday and Sunday--an orgy of readings and performances and book vendors lining downtown streets. Griping about the poetry offerings is a local pastime; there's Li-Young Lee and Ann Lauterbach and not a whole lot else. In fact, the lineup's usually designed to affirm the iron grip of slam poetry on the Chicago scene; even poor little rich Poetry magazine could only manage to send Christian Wiman into the fray.
And what scheduling genius put the biggest-name poet (Lee) head-to-head with the biggest-name fiction writer (Nick Hornby)? Oh, that's right, we poets don't read novels.
Well, if you are looking for some guidance to the world of poetry, here are some words of wisdom from the Poetry Center of Chicago's Kenneth Clarke, quoted in the Trib:
Funny poetry is hot. Humor is definitely something that has been embraced.
Poetry by celebrities is also wildly popular. Also hot are people like Jorie Graham, who is deep, thoughtful, and whose attention to each word is incredible. She's always pushing her readers.