I've been meaning to comment on my comment on Chase Twitchell's poem (a post or two previous to this). My first reaction was "not another cancer poem," before of course falling madly in love with the poem. I hate that reaction (i.e., the first reaction). I think it's a product of the workshop culture, a culture I've managed to mostly avoid, compared to many of my friends and contemporaries (and my friendly contemporaries, as well as a few contemporaneous friends). Why a product of the workshop culture (whatever the hell that is--let's workshop the idea, shall we?). Well, there's always the rhyming double sestina about getting in a car accident on your way to the grave of your grandmother whose loss you're still trying to heal from while your stepmother is in labor in the back seat telling you that you should finally ask that girl out to whom you address so many of your science fiction odes casting her as Barbarella and whose eyes are brighter than the shards of glass that litter the highway as you die and meet the angels above. In other words, we encounter the same scenarios over and over again, whether we're the poor suckers taking the workshop, or the poor sucker(s) leading the workshop. I think that it creates an overload that forms a filter in the brain when one encounters these familiar subjects and tropes. Not another granny never said goodbye poem, we say. Another car accident story? Are all creative writers such terrible drivers?
I fight to take each poem I encounter on its own merits, without the sour taste of the many horrible poems I've read, the way you munch on ginger root to prepare you for the fatty tuna after just devouring some mackerel. Christ I miss sushi.