Friday, December 29, 2006

Open


I am always interested in how some people are open and honest and some are closed and, well, not exactly dishonest, but always behind a screen whether one of formality, culture, family conditioning, or other forms of being closed. What makes the difference? What makes the difference to even think about whether you are open or closed. I always wonder when someone says, "Let me be honest with you..." If you are not open and honest do you expect your creative work will be open and honest? In any art, what attracts people is the open honesty. Most of everything else is just show.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Xclsv, Iclsv.

Before considering any concept on poetry, approach the concept as to whether it is inclusive or exclusive. In easier words, does the concept allow for more of whatever is written to be considered poetry or less of what is written to be considered poetry. In the study of poetry, only consider what is exclusive, and ignore the rest.

Do you really want to be a termite?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

No Such Thing as Poetry


There is no such thing as poetry. There is only the person who writes the poem. The poetry is the person. Poetry does not stand alone without the person. It takes a long time to agree with this concept. But the concept gets convoluted: poets think that if the poem is full of their own self--that something poetical will come out of it. Seldom does a poem so full of its author as subject become a poem.

Poetry is the person.

Picture; Who says suburbia isn't beautiful?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Number of Poets

There are a number of poets I read and at present watch for their names. So tell me what to do: I usually hang back and don't comment much for fear of saying something wrong that offends--because poets do seem to lack ego training. I recently read a poem by a poet I respect, who is knowledgeable, skilled, and so forth, and I can understand their frustration at their own lack of recognition (anywhere, although widely published) [frustration at not getting 'respect'--in other words--the response is muted praise, convivial generalities, deathly marks of mediocrity]--and so, I read a piece by this poet, and I can see their effort, but as I read I want to puke, which is a strong reaction, I know, but for goodness sake: when I can delineate the fraudulent tones, the obvious fake push for poignancy, the wooo-wooo singing from a branch, what do I do? Ah! Keep silent! Of course. Unless you have a better idea.

So often poets are afraid to speak up--which is the same effect in corporate America: speak up and you instantly become an outsider, a danger. What little ant colonies we live in. Imagine everyone speaking up and saying what they think--uh oh.

But wait----isn't that what poetry is for?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Polarity

I've had a lot of fun in not being, may I say, positive toward most poetry. I dispense, disparingly, a dearth of praise. So some have thought me negative: an actual negative person. "I am not negative," I maintain. Every ten or fifteen years I come across one decent poem.**

Name the most recent classical composer of symphonies.
Name a living artist who is alive and great today.
There aren't many anywhere, and the same is true for poetry. Yet if one mingles with poets, there seem to be a multitude of poets who are great, right there, all around.

**Well, more than that. But I am trying to make a point on the pattern, not the exception. The exception to the rule does not disprove the rule.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Chili's Theory: customers don't know.


I went to a Chili's once, and was so disgusted by the fake food, the wierd windowless atmosphere and the zombies slurping down the junky garbage they think is human nutrition and a lovely dinner, that I've never been again. That was over 30 years ago.

If a poem needs interpretation to be understood, begin to question. So many poems are simply fawning elaborations on the poet's own self or 'tremendous powers of observation.' Sure, observation is important and is to be a part of poetry, but when all it does is offer up the 'poet as poet' there is nothing there but 'yuck as yuck.'

If you have a poem you have written and there is no 'golden line' in the poem, no truly outstanding single sentence, begin to question the validity of the effort. Strings of phrases, prosey 'but then the' and lists of non-relatable objects stuffed into faux stanzas do not a poem make.

One single memorable golden line. Do you have one? Which one is it? Underline it. Study it. Say it outloud. Is it poetry or is it prose in costume? Hundreds of modern poets have written a dozen books and yet there is not one good line. The first thing a phoney will say is, "Why does a poem have to have one good line, or any criteria at all? Why can't poetry just be whatever the poet wants or what the reader wants?"

This is like saying why can't everyone in the world be rich? Do you think rich people are going to dig the ditch where the water pipe comes into your house? So if you plan on writing forgetable poetry, avoid good lines.

Eat fake food, write fake poetry.