March 30, 2002 § Leave a comment

Fast thoughts on Poetry Readings I

Disaffected lonely lost middle aged, unaware of their banality; one guy doesn’t use articles, the other tells homily little stories unaware that they are full of clichés; they write close to autobiography (it really happened); imagination in Poetry? As with prose, never. One kid totally lost, meandering, another writes a poem while eating dinner and reads it that night The young use vague words like lonely, sad, desperate, don’t these writers study poetry? Is there no consciousness that others have written the English language before us? And written it beautifully, intimidatingly so? We must carry this torsion forward in our own poetry; we bear the responsibility of excellence…otherwise you get this kind of crap. This stuff is so low grade so anecdotal so trite so banal; this is language used as a dish mop – there is no extended imagination just verbal displays or attempts at cleverness because this is a form of entertainment after all but a very low form perhaps the lowest – entertainment for recovering alcoholics. The worst the lowest rung in the world of entertainment and pathetic because the participants think they are participating or rather generating something grand called poetry. J writes of the most banal crap with no care of language; nobody is moving anything along just using language like ficking dishrag; no one tries to strike an original imag, a non clichéd poem. Some lean on theatricality or oral interpretation, as we called it in high school, others on some clever incident. What do I know? The language was so ill-marshaled these guys would be cut to ribbons if they were infantry; others don’t know how to manage adjectives they just pile them on, and of course, the sin of the not having studied hard enough: poetic usage. The leader of the Pack, Z, is hostile to me the minute I shake hands and say thanks for organizing the event. He must sense my disdain; that among these readers there is no assemblage of the material, no working of the prime matter. No attention to the sovereignty of the line: to them poetry means self-expression getting shit off your chest, therefore any little anecdote or memory will suffice; public exposure automatically means OK. W reads a leftist poem by Ferlinghetti; who cares about those crazy old beat poets? They were full of shit. Everyone laughs. This is like church or a cult. I’m supposed to laugh; I sure as hell ain’t gonna laugh at Ferlinghetti’s anti-American horseshit along with these disaffected street bums, powerless except for the scraps of shit they scribble on paper; how about describing some interaction with the world rather than with a memory and not the memory of a popular song? Christ, leave musicians out of it, they’ve got their own art to cultivate; you can feel the in-group vibes who is IN and who is OUT…well, include me out. What happens when there are no demands placed on yourself or worse when you don’t place any demands on yourself…Worse when yousecrectly cave in to the world’s indifference to your writing…language for the void.

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