Barry Schwabsky

in response to a review of Tom Raworth in which the reviewer argues that so-called difficult poetry is anti-capitalist and difficult "modernist' poetry carries more political weight than the movement/mainstream poetry in the UK with its easily summarised themes and conversational speech and so on . . ..the old language school argument . . . and of course modernism consists of more than so called high modernism . . . i don't want to choose between difficult or accessible . . . . there are many kinds of interesting art . . . nice response from Barry

either "accessible" nor "difficult" is a quality with inherent aesthetic value--that is, to state what I hope is obvious, there are good and bad "accessible" works just as there are good and bad "difficult" works (though there might be pleasures that are specific to difficult works that are unobtainable through accessible ones and vice versa). So to speak of accessibility or difficulty as either in themselves laudable or not is really barking up the wrong tree, like having an argument about whether marble sculptures are better than steel, or sonatas in minor keys are better than those in major keys, or landscape paintings are better than still lifes. It's taking a descriptive quality that only takes on aesthetic significance within the total complex of a given work as if it had some absolute value in itself.