Some of the New Precisionists whose work I enjoy a great deal these days include Graham Foust, Joseph Massey & Chris McCreary. Might anyone confuse them with Objectivism, neo- or otherwise? Only carelessly. [. . .] What they [. . .] constitute [. . .] might just be part of a moment, one in which many writers—think of Devin Johnston or the brothers O’Leary or John Martone or Jonathan Greene, even Kay Ryan—in which what at first seems to be a poetics of minimalism exists precisely to magnify the etched qualities of precise poetics. Hence precisionism. All of this attention to the exact, occurring right now in a world of blur, often feels like a political statement, a politics each of them shares dedicated to sharpness, to specifity. I would distinguish this from the so-called well-wrought urn of two generations ago by noting that this new generation, with few if any exceptions, explicitly rejects the glaze. It has, I suspect, less to do with craft than with ethics.
“In reviewing this correspondence [between 1973-74 between Cor van den Heuvel and Robert Bly], Lee Gurga responded to Bly’s emphasis that, in seeming contrast to English-language haiku, Bashō’s poems have ‘a powerful thought, linked to some terrific anxiety, or tension inside the poet’s life.’ [. . .] Here is Gurga’s response:
Even allowing for some overstatement here, I think the observation is something that needs to be considered in North American haiku: Can people living nearly dangerless lives in the most affluent society that the world has ever known write poetry with the kind of depth that a Bashō with an empty rice gourd or a Shiki with a chest full of phlegm wrote? After all, if the choice is not between life and death but between skiing or going to the beach, will this not make a qualitative difference in the poem?”
“[A] case can be made out for the poet giving some of his life to the use of the words a and the: both of which are weighted with as much epos and historical destiny as one man can perhaps resolve. Those who do not believe this are too sure that the little words mean nothing among so many other words.”
/ Avant-Garde Haiku by Philip Rowland (Frogpond 25.1, 2002); as found in The Marginalization of Poetry by Bob Perelman (Princeton, New Jersey: University of Princeton Press, 1996, p50)