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Customer Discussions > Poetry forum

where are the poets?


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Showing 1-25 of 615 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 18, 2012 10:18:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2012 10:20:11 AM PDT
I want to start a project here: to rescue Poetry from the media abyss into which it has fallen.
We need a campaign to "popularize" poetry.
Let me give you an example of that abyss:
When was the last time you saw a poet on tv?
When was the last time you turned to "Book Chat" & saw a poet interviewed?
When was the last time outside of a dry as dust academic quarterly you found mention of a poem taken seriously or even appreciated?
This morning I watched Sunday Morning & once again-- they cover every art form except poetry. This time they even had a segment on video games in museums! No poetry.
Ovation goes to extreme lengths to cover every art form-- except poetry. I have seen the most absurd programming reaching to the heavens to proclaim some kind of artistic endeavor-- puppeteers, people who pee in a bucket onstage, etc,,-- but when was the last time they interviewed or had a poet on? Even a program about a poet? I can't recall.
PBS? No poets in sight-- even on their book programs. In the morning I sometimes catch a discussion about philosophy, ethics, even semantics. Never-- I repeat never-- have I found them discussing poetry
Understand, I'm not talking about an interview with the Laureate at the Library of Congress or some professor droning on endlessly.as he "explains" the verse of Wordsworth (although even that would be something). I'm talking about what shd/ be a viable contemporary art form in present-day America.There are thousands of poets in this country-- surely one of them deserves some air time!
The internet attests to the writing and reading of poetry on a large scale. But the media ignores us.
Where's the village poet represented in the media?
May I suggest, we all of us, write to an arts program somewhere-- Sunday Morning wd/ be a good place to start-- & Ovation-- & ask that they represent our art?
Jack Peachum

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2012 10:37:12 PM PDT
gizmophile says:
Donahue

I sympathize with your disappointment.

That said, I'm one of those people who would probably just turn the tv channel, now that Charles Bukowski is dead. Though even Buk was rarely if ever given any television time while he was alive.

There are MANY poetry readings, here in the S.F. Bay Area.

When I go to them, I'm bored. The poets have nothing interesting to say. Few of the poets have even mastered the language, so they can't entertain me with style alone.

I think that poetry and poets will for now be limited to the tiny forums that already exist.

But may I wish you well in your quest.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 22, 2012 11:45:29 AM PDT
I agree with you in many points-- one of the wretched things about the present condition of poetry today is that many poets have not taken the time to learn their craft. Many more, as you iterate, are writing out of habit rather than inspiration. Shelley may have been excitable to the point of hysteria but he communicated his excitement to the reader-- he did this by knowing how to write what he was trying to say.
On the one hand, I would like to see more good-- if not great-- modern poetry. And by modern poetry I do not mean the claptrap chop-prose cutouts that pass for poems in the current anthologies.
Nor do I mean the academic b.s. that issues from the universities.
I am not an academic nor a formalist.
We need to take poetry back from the schoolteacher and the professor and make it part our culture again. This does not necessitate abandoning all rules-- as do many of the street poets.
Rap poetry is actually a good place to start. Rap is wild and untamed but it is not without rules-- and this may be why it has succeeded: strong rhymes predominate, for instance, rhythmic lines. The ancestor of this kind of verse was John Skelton, a pre-Shakespearean renaissance poet.
I believe there are genuine poets out there writing-- they have a message- quite a few of them are incarcerated somewhere proving the point: look at China & Win Tin, Majoub Sharif in Sudan now serving a 10 year sentence, Saw Wei in Burma- or even consider the possible murder of Neruda;.
These are political poets. I am not advocating political poetry- this isn't what I'm about. I am as far removed from politics as you can get- a plague on all their houses!
But I am a poet- at least, I've been accused of it. And because all poets struggle to make our voices heard, I believe that I- and countless others- deserve a hearing. Our chosen art wants an audience. We will not find that audience as long as our media chooses to ignore our voices.
In other parts of the world- as we see from the above list of locked-up poets- this is an art taken seriously. So it used to be in the western world as well- we must find that place again.
The point, I suppose, is not good poetry or bad poetry, but poetry at all. You are fortunate you live in a place where poetry readings- again, good, bad, or indifferent- are offered to the public. Most of us don't have that option.
It is an injustice to us as poets that programs such as Ovation, Sunday Morning, PBS, countless others promote themselves as cultural bastions, while giving no place to our art. We need to reach these people. Certainly we rate as much attention as painters & ballet corps.
Jack Peachum

Posted on Mar 22, 2012 2:13:26 PM PDT
Frank Mundo says:
There's a pretty good community of poets in Los Angeles. I go to readings at least once a month and try to participate whenever I can. I also promote and cover as many events as I can on my blog. Unfortunately, these events aren't very popular and are mostly attended by the same group of people. I love this community, but it's extremely tough to get people outside of this group interested in poetry these days.

Posted on Mar 22, 2012 3:03:51 PM PDT
Frank Mundo says:
This isn't bad:

Poetry & the Creative Mind: 10th Anniversary

The Academy will host its tenth annual star-studded benefit, Poetry & the Creative Mind, on Thursday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m. in Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. This year, special guests reading favorite poems include Meryl Streep, Brooke Shields, Terrence Howard, Claire Danes, Tom Brokaw, and more.

Tickets are available by calling (212) 721-6500. Use the code POETS12 when ordering for $10 off all tickets (regularly priced $45-$75).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 22, 2012 7:09:40 PM PDT
gizmophile says:
Yes, there is a rather small audience for the poetry that we have. Maybe some Mozart of poetry will come along and surprise us all.

Were such a powerful poet to pose a real threat to the state, one shouldn't underestimate this state's readiness to respond just as China, Burma, and Sudan do.

I would abandon television and focus on the web. How much presence has pianist Glenn Gould or writer Henry Miller had on our mainstream media? Hardly any. Who among tv viewers has heard of Ana Halprin or Pina Bausch?

I take the witless skew of offerings to be a consequence of two concerns of corpo media decision makers: the desire to make money and the need to control the sentiments of the masses by offering "tasteful" (politically sanitized) programming.

Don't expect to see much of Noam Chomsky on national tevelsion.

No, in the U.S., people must content themselves with Liberace and Andy Rooney.

I haven't explored fully the poetry offerings at You Tube, but I think one can find readings of many well-known poets, there, including our locals Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Hirschman.

UC Berkeley has a regular poetry gathering, hosted by Robert Haas, if I recall. And its meetings are captured on video and presented on the web.

The web is evolving quickly. Were it not for copyright issues, current technology would enable us to see, hear, or read everything that exists on print, tape, and platter. There are inspiring audio interviews with Henry Miller on vinyl and perhaps CD, for example. One sees snippets of Miller video at You Tube. And Charles Bukowski left us a lot of video and audio.

Posted on Mar 22, 2012 7:15:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 24, 2012 9:40:35 AM PDT
I find your question an interesting proposition...where are all the poets? I find it ironic that many people want information quickly, and get it through rss feeds, twitter, and other outputs, but wouldn't you think that individuals would also follow suit with their desire to read short stories and poetry? Ideas are spread quickly, and poetry, by its nature, lends itself to powerful and quick ideas.

I recommend following the twitter community of poets and bloggers, and help build it. I recently posted my book of poetry,Mimesis, and have the great opportunity more to discover like minded poets and writers using the tools of social media. We exist. Come find us.

Posted on Mar 24, 2012 7:41:36 AM PDT
Dear All,
Thank you everyone who has responded to my post.
But I think you're all missing the point here.
I am not out to reform American poetry-- I'd love to do that, but I think its impossible.
There are two kinds of poetry: the sort that's written for publication & the sort that's written for private ends. Sadly, many poets don't know the difference. Both of them result in a lot of bad poetry. I'm not concerned with that right now; I believe even bad poetry can finish in something worthwhile (e.g., T. S Elliot's admiration for Kipling).
What I am concerned with here is the sad state of the art itself as far as its viability as a public statement goes. Poetry is worth more than the sad state of disfavor into which it has fallen.
I have a question for you: when did poetry become so unpopular?
During WWI Many British- & American soldiers- went up to the front line to die reciting verses from The Rubaiyat. of Omar Khayyam.
Now, that's poetry!
Joseph Brodsky wrote:
"By failing to read or listen to poets, society dooms itself to inferior modes of articulation, those of the politician, the salesman or the charlatan. [...] In other words, it forfeits its own evolutionary potential. For what distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom is precisely the gift of speech. [...] Poetry is not a form of entertainment and in a certain sense not even a form of art, but it is our anthropological, genetic goal, our evolutionary, linguistic beacon."
Brodsky was not an elitist. He wanted to place free poetry books in hotel rooms for the benefit of travelers. He also believed that Emily Dickinson could well be sold at the checkout counter in various stores.
If only some media mogul or printer could be found who had the courage to try this!

Posted on Mar 24, 2012 12:33:37 PM PDT
The question of popularising poetry is a commendable one,although the answer is that no body seems to have the time for poetry.This is strange because poetry is quicker to read than a novel.i think the quality of poetry speaks a lot for this malaise,but more than that,if it can made in to music of some kind,the same poetry becomes popular everywhere. Maybe these forums need to discuss poetry in a new way like u have by starting this thread.
Only yesterday I read a great poetry book called 'Mimesis' by Matthew Andrako and I thoroughly enjoyed it.Then there is Donald Wells and two of his collections entitled 'Sex Poems for Virgins' and ' As A Soul, Molested'...all of these can be found on the Kindle.
I myself have written two collections of poems rhyming, Bollywood style poetry that deals mostly with love but also fatherhood and little joys and pains that go on to make the many colours of life....there is not a dearth of good poets,but their promotion and fame seems to be not given much value.
Anyway here are the links to all the books mentioned in my post...my first collection is on FREE DOWNLOAD tomorrow sunday 25th march

Mimesis
Sex Poems For Virgins (A compilation of unique poetry)
As A Soul, Molested (A compilation of unique poetry)
Irreverent Natter- A collection of poems from my 30s
Poetry E Motion - Celebrations of Life

Posted on Mar 24, 2012 12:52:17 PM PDT
gizmophile says:
Sounds like...

people should be exposed to poetry. It would be good for them and our nation if we could make it happen.

OR:

People want to hear from the poets but the witless corpo media doesn't make poetry available to them.

I suppose both these hunches lead to dead ends.

America is an ambitious country and has spent lots of money fostering high culture, but so far has produced mostly junk.

Our poets are caught up in this lame culture, and the work they do is just not good enough. It gets more attention than it deserves.

People have lots of time to read poetry. (Maybe they don't have time to read Dickens, but they still read Dickens.)

In the past, publishing costs and the print distribution system made it hard for the rare good poet to reach a typically small, natural readership. The web has largely solved that problem.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2012 1:56:37 PM PDT
Well said gizmophile....for example,maybe the fault lies in the poets themselves in that maybe they need to be taught SEO and other internet techniques.Out of my 2 published collections,my second collection was published 2 weeks ago and as yet there is no link to my previously published book,even though i used the same SEO tags as the last collection....
also there seems to be a readership because the downloads reach 50 a day when offered free,but nobody seems to be able to cough up the money for it.at my books prices, that's enough to keep me writing poetry with some integrity,without getting disheartened,if it was paid that is.i personally want a readership more than money,but i'm sure a lot of poets get disheartened by this fact,so their writing suffers.
even though amazon has solved the problem of accessibility to little known poets of talent,EVERYBODY seems to rely on the free bit.Maybe Amazon should offer more free promotional days ,or start a marketing and promotional service for KDP titles ,done by the professionals whereby the work comes to the forefront...my problem as a poet is not that i have difficulty making my work accessible but the art of persuasion to persuade the readers into reading the 'synopsis' or 'product description' as it were...

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 10:36:11 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2012 10:36:47 AM PDT
I think we may be onto something here.
Consider: Most art forms other than poetry are represented by some kind of forum that furnishes financial & artistic guidance- the painter has his galleries & their associations, the dancer & musician their music studios, halls, etc., the actor has his unions, guilds, rehearsal studios, etc., there are art schools and performing art centers where one can go for training & advice.
These are all financially well-placed.
Who represents the poet?
The Academy of American Poets exists for the established poet- only: they represent the academic & professional end of the artistic curve, the poets who have already been published in "major" periodicals and who have long since sold their souls in return for a stipend or a grant. I've been writing poetry most of my life- which at this point is getting long in the tooth- and I know almost nothing about the Academy or the process of "being elected" & I don't know anyone that does. My guess is you have to be recommended by someone with a PHD behind his name or an organization with more money than the Fed.
So, I ask again: who represents the poet? I'm not talking about the "P'rfessor of Literachooor" who derives an income by following the line of least resistance and pleasing all and sundry whose names might appear on his checks- or on his resume. I'm talking about the village poet, or the urban voice who follows his muse through the mean streets, or the young poet just starting to find his voice who has neither the ass-kissing ability or the wherewithal (I mean money- money is what determines what kind of schooling you can afford just as it determines your chances in a court of law) to enter an ivy-league institution.
Pardon me if I sound like I'm down on the schools. I am. I have little respect for American education & even less for the people that run it.
But I'm losing the thread here.
What I'm suggesting is the kind of financial & support groups for poetry that the painter, for instance, has in the world of the gallery.
The academic has the best of it in our society, not because he's a better poet but because he has someone at his back. Alike, the painter, the musician, etc.
Every state or almost every state has a Poetry Society. And almost none of them do a damned thing to support local poets. Mostly, they're comprised of the members of the Academy & their friends. They're the creme de creme and their sh- doesn't stink.
We are poets & most of us will do anything to get published. A poet lives only through his audience. But in a capitalist democratic society to live as an poet without finance & without representation is to have one's art & one's future in constant jeopardy. It is to be at the bottom of the social scale where the parasites live & the bird-droppings fall.
Thus, we eke out publication- and a living- where we can and find ourselves reading to empty houses because no one has the perspicacity to organize a reading or a hearing around our peculiar talents.
What's to be done?
As I earlier suggested- a media voice might be a may be a place to start. It will help us find an audience & draw attention to our efforts.
Perhaps the institutions of "higher" learning might be induced to do something useful for a change. Or maybe someday some financial group with cultural pretensions- say the MacArthur Grant for one- might be induced to provide some community money to encourage the local poet & his minions.
I wouldn't hold my breath. But suggestions will be welcomed.
JACK PEACHUM

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 12:36:09 PM PDT
Frank Mundo says:
That would be great. Like patrons of the old days, rich people who paid poets' and artists' bills so they could focus on their work. In return, they had to dedicate the work to the patron's family (and kiss a little butt in the dedication). They kind of have that now: writer in residence programs. But, like you said, it's almost exclusively for scholars or established poets. If there were only a way to make it hip for celebrities and rich people to become patrons again and support the work of poets they thought had potential. That would be amazing. I'd definitely apply for that job.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 1:35:43 PM PDT
Check out "the loving years" by diego xoto

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 4:45:08 PM PDT
Kudos.
You're getting the idea.
jp

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 5:00:02 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2012 5:00:34 PM PDT
gizmophile says:
Much wisdom in your remarks, Mr. Peacham.

But as I reread them I feel... hopeless hopeless hopeless.

And I wonder what exactly would please you most. A steady income. Or a succession of beautiful women knocking at your door. Or the friendship of more interesting people. Or...??

For dancers, musicians, painters the situation isn't really much better that it is for "poets"

Realistically? You need to get a part time job that pays the bills.

If you do great work as a poet, it probably won't be recognized. It'll just get lost in the shuffle. And if it goes unrecognized, women won't take you seriously (I assume that matters).

Even if your work gained recognition, you still wouldn't strike it rich. Maybe you'd come into enough money to make down payment on a modest house or to buy a used car.

I guess first and foremost, you want to be heard. But it's not easy to get anyone's attention. And I doubt whether you should look to others to make that happen for you and the rest of the poets.

Joseph Fatur

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 5:17:45 PM PDT
gizmophile says:
I sense in your remarks contempt for the "establishment", and I say it's well grounded.

Only in a nation of halfwits (such as ours) would one suppose that the formal education system can create poets, as though writing poetry were analogous to drilling teeth, stitching wounds, or preparing tax returns.

Academic credentials are taken seriously because people here aren't cultured enough to make qualitative judgments on their own.

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 2:18:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2012 2:24:25 PM PDT
Dear All:
As to my contempt for the establishment, I'm an OTHER: that's a sociological term for one who is rejected by the group as being somehow "fundamentally different". This sets me outside the norm and I can only look on in horror at what's happening here, there and everywhere.
This does not mean I take the American public for nitwits-- some are and some aren't. People will always surprise you-- just when you think they're all idiots one of them will show more than a spark of intelligence.
Nor do I like the idea of women beating on my door-- I'm much too old and my wife probably wouldn't approve. Thanks for the thought though.
My problem is to somehow suggest a way to reach the public mind in this country by creating a world of poetry that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Let's face it, our educational system is designed to destroy whatever interest a young person may have in learning. It does this by bullying the student-- condemning all interests that lie outside the range of the academic and scientific community. The reason the schools can't get rid of bullying is because that's what their whole edifice is built upon. "If yoiu want your personal life to be happy-- if you want to join clubs, take place in social activities, athletics, etc.,you will listen to what I'm saying and agree with it-- or you'll wish you had! Its my way or the highway!"
This is what makes giving over poetry to the academics so dangerous. An academic is likely to have a restricted point of view-- the poet-- well--. And since poets are singular, they often fall victim to the bullying. Their interests are either ignored or regarded as somehow perverted. Students, in my view, are actually taught to dislike poetry. I know people who seem to be afraid of it.
How do we deal with this?
Let's get back to suggestions of what might be done.
I'm sure you're all familiar with Joseph Brodsky-- a Nobel Prize winner & at one time Poet Laureate. Brodsky believed that the snob-poet was misguided, that poetry should be a popular medium and available to everyone. He felt that Emily Dickinson could be sold in the check-out line right next to The Enquirer! It seemed a radical idea but Brodsky was not a man to be dissuaded. He and a fellow named Andy Carroll created the American Poetry & Literacy Project, which has since distributed thousands of donated copies of poetry anthologies in motels across the country, handed out Edgar Allan Poe to schools at Halloween, and even placed poems as nutritious "filler" in some Yellow Pages! At one time every new Volkswagon that left the assembly line had a selection of poetry in the glove compartment! How's that for "popularizing" poetry?
The problem with these projects is they cost money. Where does the money come from? And how does the poet live in the meantime?
I don't believe the rich are going to give us money. Nor are the schools. We need a foundation of some kind to furnish financial & artistic support. And you can bet it won't be the Academy of American Poets that serves us.
JACK PEACHUM

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 4:09:59 PM PDT
I would like to add my humble opinion to this roaringly interesting discussion.
since the talk has come around to solutions,i think amazon could do a lot worse than make a social networking website, like facebook etc,whereby artists like poets,musicians,singers,in short all the elements that make poetry popular in the 'normal' psyche have a chance to interact. i think we may just be able to get another taupin-john,or lennon and mccartney, if the chance was given to everyone to openly and freely contribute.
i personally think the joy i feel in reading a book of poetry,may not be felt by a lot of people.i also get a feeling, that in the age of the mp3 whereby 1000s of tracks can be stored on a single device,even if the whole world's poetry was made into some form of musical or dramatical representation,i.e. audiobooks with noises of the ocean rainforest etc for meditational purposes and for relaxation techniques.also,like poetry on greeting cards(maybe with a reference to the ebook asin number included) would maybe a try. just a thought. i would love more suggestions and am tracking this discussion.will contribute when ever i have something useful to say

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 5:06:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2012 5:15:19 PM PDT
Frank Mundo says:
I agree. When I was in college, my professors all talked and taught us about the great poets of the past, but the poetry that the students were writing looked nothing like any of those poets we studied. So, as a sort of personal challenge, I wrote my own version of the Canterbury Tales General Prologue. My version took place in Los Angeles after the riots and my pilgrims were graveyard-shift security guards who would have a storytelling competition to pass the time. When I finished it, it was actually well received at readings and was published by Indiana University and a couple of other journals. I decided to finish it after that and, eight years later, I finally did -- and no mainstream publisher would touch it, even though they told me they liked it a lot. They said no one reads poetry anymore, especially in this format. So I published on my own on Kindle and started doing readings at libraries and colleges and high schools -- about 50 in the last two years. And the kids do seem to like it when it's presented live, but seem to lose interest when it's time to read it from the page. On my blog and in my community, I've been trying to get people interested in poetry. I used to post videos of readings on my blog, reviewed books, promoted events -- and no one seemed interested. It's just a tough time for poetry and, even the scholars aren't all that successful these days. It's a sad state and I don't know what to do. I've quit writing many times, only to start again and quit again. It's really depressing. Any way, I just wanted to let you all know that I feel your pain and am going through the same thing -- and so is every poet I know. It's brutal out there.

Posted on Mar 31, 2012 3:25:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 31, 2012 3:29:26 PM PDT
Dear Folks,
I think we've arrived about where we started.
The basic thing we seem to have learned is that poetry needs some kind of support group, both for professional & financial reasons.
This is an art form that can't pay its own way. Perhaps its always been like this, but we need to seek a way to change the status here. It is pathetic when people who write poetry can't afford to buy & read other poet's books. I think that's the case with many of us. And we get no help from media nor from institutes of "higher learning."
As for that, there's the story of Byron: a publisher accepted a poem & published it &, in payment, sent Byron a Bible. Byron sent it back with only one change-- where it said, "Now Barrabas was a thief--," he scratched out & wrote in "publisher".
However, Mr. Mundo, above raises a question: how many of us dare, as he has, to take our craft to whatever public we can find-- i.e., in his case kids & public schools, libraries, etc.? What a useful thought!
Congrats to you. And stop trying to quit the Muse. She won't let you-- anyway, sounds like you're doing something useful! Changing minds & opinions at a level where they can still be changed!
Maybe poets are always going to be poor, but we can make our voices heard.
I still believe, as I intimated when I started this discussion, that we need to somehow recover our reputation as an art form. Let's face it, poetry has a bad name-- people hate it or they're afraid of it. Comics make fun of poetry. And while this has been somewhat over-turned by Bukowski, Ginsberg, Rap Poets, etc., the image of poetry as a prissy sort of activity still persists in the mind of the public. The obscurity of Pound & Elliott has not helped. (Don't get me wrong, I love them both!)
How do we get past this problem?
And I don't think its that no one is interested-- I think its a bad rep.
Activity at the local level is certainly needed & useful. But more than that we should try to find a national voice. Next month is National Poetry Month & the Academy will be hawking the "established " poets from the universities. Can't we folk from the other 99% of the world figure out some way make ourselves heard?
I say we go over to the local TV station & kick some butt!
JACK PEACHUM

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2012 5:42:08 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 31, 2012 5:44:44 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2012 6:51:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2012 12:14:54 AM PDT
Joseph,

Hopelessness is reductively only a mere spark of information, too often allowed to die for lack of gasoline, or an accompaniment of state pretzels.

If you wish to fit your brain for poetic possibility, you start by making it your serious, grown-up job, and do anything at all to buy food to eat, or a bridge to sleep under. Your house and job are signal fragments really linked to frenetic nesting, and visible love self-explanation, for which, genetically speaking, a drone is the best practices sound-choice for redemptive-resignation.

Dangerous poets do their best work underground, or at night when society's not watching for when to expect a request for their self-congratulatory opinion. I'm a professional poetry audience without a logo, chosen by self-affliction, so I speak from experience with myself being the one undone by poems.

When the econo-world is integrating into Germanic predictability, and efficient conformity production mobilization, the best place for exploration is the consciousness we were born with- not society suspended carrots. Emily Dickinson had the nerve to write to theoretical people, all her own creation, those she liked to have around her in her inner sanctum, which reportedly stank of furniture wax on warm wood; these ghosts were no less real for not being born then, quite yet. In their company I now work like any honest cage-fighter to taste the wood, and resonate my high-wire to Emily's violin. If not, let the banjo set me free, or feast upon me.

Wallace Stevens lived honestly his helpful horror of a conjugal Purgatorio, and let not having the advertised right skin for the époque keep him from writing one to torture-fit himself for laughs, a Modern form that finally vindicates square pegs for round holes out at Elvis Everywhere, perhaps beyond it.

Hopelessness left to compost long enough forms a pretext for shedding skins as a do-it-yourself, curbside reedition, updated version, falling out of love with various Yourself for the n-teenth time, collecting bygone (good ridance) disparate selves around to make the first-of-its-kind group Xmas postcard- hopeless!

You're dead right, that writing poems to make a million dollars, or to be cell-phone elected clown to Paradiso on the Jerry Springer show, is richly faceless.

Plato wanted poets taken outside the Republic, and shot. That's category recognition. A poet only knows his own mind speaking to broom closets full of souls she's decides are the right ones to be open and frank to, and they do then feel the full responsibility of such lethal, subtle grace, like new missionaries tasting fragrant lemons. I actually know a poem that stops suicides from bowing down their slashing razors, or stepping out wide into the empty open, and, no, I'm not telling, you'll have to find it doing the dangerous poems I've done out searching among dog-stuff and land mines laid on for Easter.

Poems are tectonic: not aware of any powers of necessary adoration, low lying, inward, patient, knowing when it's time to shake us free of stuck horizons. Brain scientists suggest, when humans first started using language, it was all metaphor- wall quotable.

Don't keep your hopelessness just for yourself alone. You can see what a world of good it's done me.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2012 9:24:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 31, 2012 10:40:20 PM PDT
Jack, your quest is noble, and I shall join in if only out of sheer admiration for your audacity.

My unrequited poetathetic inner champion thinks poems create a need for themselves, or are vapor. Living in a wreckable world anymore for good, poems selling resignation to inevitable nature are deathly quaint, and frankly shoutable. While girls out loud are right to complain about the odd things excused, subtitled L-O-V-E. Reading the poetry of many Ages is a necessary passage for disambiguating present time, find lost strategies in sediments.

There seems to be an ambient assumption, Tweetable, that one doesn't need to undergo soul-sculpting by cultivation, that history stopped dead thanks to search engines neuroned to our finger-tips. Wisdom is downloadable, as runes revealing the way to master gadgets. If it doesn't fly, I've been told, it wasn't made to; its steel wings just flutter, and keep the static garden nomes company. Confessional wafers frisbee fly barcoded sins to half-house heaven. At one time, the sport of building life before death gave tried experience an aura of invested wisdom: the wise kept control of the inheritances to protect their chips in the conversation.

Poems are the highest hanging fruit of consciousness, as the song birds mock our loss of wings and any lightness to tell us, singing praises of what lies close to the sun. Sweetness is part of the stimulating danger of high challenges. Poetry is not, by definition, social, nor drama; the power lines tying us nervously to assorted friends and muses force us to be so nice, pre-formatted for compromise trade-offs, and our necessary fibs may well save psychologies, but leave us with those nasal recorded messages, alone within the mirror.

Perhaps poetry happens most surely when intelligence finds a moment. In our time, my bets are on intelligence shifted off "P" for park into "D" for active; defining ambition and solid bases, working up powers of subject, a conscious mind on paradigm string-instruments- the passing flutist pretexts the resonances.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2012 3:01:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2012 3:32:40 PM PDT
gizmophile

I too am in the San Francisco area, exactly where, had Horace Greeley taken one more step while going west young man, he'd have stepped off a cliff, whereby finding redeeming flight for a continued western passage, or a fab fatal fall as full-stop punctuation, the latter being an older promise from a longer (by far) tradition.

If Bukowski, in his pathetic adolescent rage, drove in the spikes that served to crucify him, he dragged himself to the execution venue and paid the extras for the crowd scene. Bars everywhere house souls who are who they believe in. Poetry is work we do inside our one earthly domain of sober authority, our consciousness. People have the right to be stung by disappointment if they go to the poetry well in search of social recognition and confirmation of what they think already. Failure and disappointment are great places to rebound from.

Poetry has to harmonize us with the conscious past of a tradition, a trail that can only be followed by retracing the interior struggle of active, generous minds from within the machinery of piloted consciousness. I can't separate the world before me as raw historical until I've passed through the distant lost string of `presents' that prepared the way to here; the road is one of difficult moral choices made by feet walking. Poetry in our active conscious efforts seeks to harmonize what we see with what's been. The satisfaction comes with moments when connections create cascades within the forests of our synaptic gaps, which give the present conscious birth in a DNA that can go past us to other presents yet to imagine. For adventures into the 'tradition', in our culture, it is helpful to go the Poetry Foundation website, and follow your own mind into the wonderfully complex web of linked themes and inspirations: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/

Another important support for poetic thinking is philosophy; not the culture of philosophy, but the practice actively at work consciously to make us reflexively aware of the reality we know and naively suppose must represent the way things have always been and will ever be: I suggest reading the works of John R. Searle, and especially "Intentionality." Meaning doesn't just fall from Nature's trees in some human welcoming, user-friendly forest. Meaning is what is added to what we see before us so as to shape the present to fit the trajectory of a vision; but meanings only cause us to follow the program anonymously until we study the meanings and make them morally our own, or retool them to make them livable. Poetry that changes us presents deep moral challenges, and, once we work through them, we are changed irrevocably. Growth to a consciousness that's always being filled with more experience may choose to be proactive and embrace a form that resonates with the Time and Place along the way to some idea of destiny, or pleasantly billow out in a formless mass like a cancer. In any event, nothing stands still: everything is what it is, until further notice.
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