Standards of Excellence: Accessibility?
Written about Paul Zimmer:
“Who else writes poems as accessible and conveys our common stumbling with such understanding and forgiveness?” (Brendan Galvin)
Now, I don’t have anything against Zimmer or Galvin, but I’m still wondering why the first thing a lot of people are writing in blurbs these days is “accessible.”
Why is “accessible” this great word to help sell a book?
And what does it mean, really? Who is and who is not accessible?
I think about this a lot when looking at, thinking about art. Is Rothko accessible? “Like television for Zen Buddhists,” is how it’s been described. I suppose the answer is no.
Is Jeff Koons’ work accessible?
(WARNING: most of the images in the above series are pornographic. Mound of Flowers, is not representative, except metaphorically. Ahem.)
Well, yes, in its way. If revealing all is the same as accessibility. If kitsch and pornography is accessible. But doesn’t accessibility contain its own questions? Like “why is this being depicted?” Like “Why am I being told these things?” Is there anything that is really accessible, then?
I think the notion of accessibility is a fabrication. And it seems particularly suited to discussions of poetry. I wish we’d stop talking like this.
In other thoughts. It seems to me so odd and interesting that in the art world, some of the biggest names, and most expensive works, are the most transgressive, while in poetry it seems just the opposite is the case.
Oh well. (As I’m really not much of a transgressive sort anyway, and I rather dislike Koons’ work, except metaphorically.)