Here’s a really interesting discussion of how a poet named Catherine Dreyer who likes Kim Hyesoon is told that she’s against decorum and how it makes her feel. I love this post because I think it’s actually something that goes on all the time (and I think she’s right to point out that the teacher is no tyrant, but nonetheless she shuts down Dreyer) and because her reactions are honest and strong:
So I took both poems to class. In a brief discussion with my tutor, she was keen for me to read the Korean poet and teacher’s work, although she didn’t know her work.
I got six lines in and my tutor put her hand up and said, ‘Stop. Please stop. I can’t take any more.’
The rest of the class said it made them feel ill.
I haven’t been able to tell anyone about this without laughing hysterically (I use the word advisedly) to the point of incoherence.
My tutor said it’s great that I read what I read because it allowed a valuable discussion of boundaries. I can’t really remember any discussion of boundaries. People said that they felt poetry ought to offer some kind of light, that the work couldn’t be totally dark.
People – kind people – tried to find symbolism in the work. They hoped she was writing in the censored North (she’s not). (But I appreciated their kindness which redeemed the experience for me quite a lot.)
They did not value her freedom in the way I do. I was alone in that.
My tutor then made me read the Will Kemp and said that it was a safer choice.
For me, what this exposes is that I am at odds with the group (it could be any group) and not for the first time. I try not to believe this. People who think they’re different and special (therefore) are just annoying.