As I finished writing my comment on Katie’s post about the “Geneseo School” I was comparing the different types of writing going on in our class by referring to it by the writer’s name (see my title) and I realized it’s an empty and inaccurate, though convenient, way to describe a body of work. Its not only detrimental to thinking constructively about a poet’s work, but insulting to the poet. We re-enforce the idea that poetry is somehow purer in reflecting the soul or essence of the writer when we say this; an idea that I know I’m outspokenly against. Its as if we’ve nailed down some aspect of the poet’s personality by noticing patterns across their poems.
I think the fix is simple. To use an example from class, instead of calling Savannah’s most recent workshop poem a “Savannah Poem” why not call it a “Nesting Poem” or an “Inside poem.” Obviously these quick references fail to capture the complexity of a poem, but its a step in the right direction.