"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Defense of the New Sincerity

Stevie Lynne Kohler


Anonymous said...

Maybe this has been aswered, but what separates New Sincerity from a reactionary movement (like New Formalism)?

Also, you have named some names (TT & RS), but in general I'm confused by what kind of poetry irks New Sincerity. Why the civility; is that sincere? I suppose I've seen flarf and NY/LANG School mentioned a couple times. It can't possibly be all New York poetry (judging by your inclusion in a forthcoming NY journal, which I'm as excited to see as anyone.)

Maybe you could point me to some other material (further reading)

By the way, I think the poem you had published in Shampoo is splendid.

Dustin Williamson

gina said...

The New Sincerity isn't anti-New York School. Jimmy Schuyler, David Shapiro, & Ted Berrigan are all heroes to us. Or at least to me.

Tony said...

...and Koch and O'Hara and even Ashbery.

And Ron Padgett.

Anonymous said...

I meant the fusion of those two things. But point taken.


Tony said...


The New Sincerity is not a monolithic machine, not bent on "enforcing" any poetry rules, or dismissing out of hand other movements, schools of poetry, and so forth.

Gina's comment is apt--the part that says, "[o]r at least to me." The point is this--we are a loose conglomeration of individuals with individual tastes. What we share is an affinity for poetry that realizes that authentic emotion is a valuable element, poetry that doesn't wink at us too much. Poetry that is not JUST clever. Or not JUST smart.

I am not against anyone's poetry or poetics--not even TT or RS. We are not so much a movement AGAINST anything. Rather than being reactionary, we are action-oriented. We act parellel to some existing poetries, not perpendicular to them, not directly opposing them.

There is a growing group of poets who position themselves outside the mainstream poetry establishment but who are also unsatisfied with existing accepted models of comportment, poetics, distribution, and so forth. We identify with much of the thinking and methods of the so-called "post-avant" but turn our noses up at the sterility of so much of the poetry being written (and praised) outside of the mainstream. We want our poetry to have soul. We want to read writes with soul, wit, and feeling.

We use process as a means to an end. The end is the poem as act of communication. Process in itself is seldom interesting.

Or at least *I* think these things. Other New Sincerists can chime in at will.

I think flarf is kinda fun. Though, I don't know if it's supposed to be fun.

You could check out Joseph Massey's livejournal for a lot more on the NS. (JM comes across as more militant than I--he's the Prof. Griff of the NS, whereas I'm the Chuck D. We think Andy Mister is the Flavor Flav.)

Matt Hart has an article in the new Octopus that mentions/sympathizes with a lot of what we're about.

While he's not identified with the New Sincerity, Gabriel Gudding's thinking about poetry and teaching is very very similar to mine--see his interview at MiPoesias (linked below on this blog.)

Reb Livingston (on her Cackling Jackal) occasionally talks about New Sincerity. Of course, if you look at the archives of this blog over the past few months, you'll find many documents of the New Sincerity.

And look for me in comment boxes.

All best,
p.s. thanks for the props on the Shampoo poem. That's always been a favorite of mine, despite the suggestion of many readers that I remove it from my first ms.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

tony toni tone has done it again!