The new poets, Paz noted in his Tanner Lecture in 1998, have replaced the language with irony and prosaicism. The new art went out into the streets: a poetry of sharp contrasts and brutal oppositions.
Paz’s views appear remarkable because contemporary poetry in English indeed appears to ‘celebrate the moment, the present: that which the eyes see and the hands touch.’ The poet today appears akin to a broadcast camera which relays the same thing back to us, with personal impressions.
Should the passivity of the camera suffice? Does it remain candid, when the words are mediated by the poet? I begin to think that imagery isn’t appealing in poetry. I’d rather want it to touch the space that one doesn’t know could be reached.