Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hey Poetry

Stay dead. Adrienne Rich has written a dull essay on how we need poetry.

She quotes Shelley's "Defence of Poetry," natch. Shelley also said:

To what but a cultivation of the mechanical arts in a degree disproportioned to the presence of the creative faculty, which is the basis of all knowledge, is to be attributed the abuse of all invention for abridging and combining labor, to the exasperation of the inequality of mankind?

Short of it: the more technology, the less poetry. Never mind that there is probably more poetry online for the world to read. But Rich doesn't take this into account. She doesn't even talk about Def Comedy Jam. Noooo, she is talking about snooty academic poetry.

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe poetry is, how do you say, too fucking elitist? Even artists are having fun with video games. I have actually spent time with poets. I was a TA for a poetry professor (redundant, wouldn't you say) and you know what these professors poets do for fun? They have wine and cheese parties.

But I'm not asking you to drop the pinot, babe. Truth is, though there are many poems online, there are more blogs. And deep down inside, we all know that, for the past forty years, the majority of poems have been written by frustrated teenagers. So are LiveJournals. If blogging has killed print, it has cremated poetry and flushed it down the public university toilet.

LiveJournal Killed the Poetry Star

Perhaps it's impossible that modern poetry sucks right? Here's a sample of spoken word.

I'm sorry, I keep zoning that guy out. Can anyone in the comments tell me what that beatprik is saying?

via Largehearted Boy

PS: Those who say "But what about hip hop" need to stop listening to Jay Z and start listening to Nas.


William F. DeVault said...

I can't really argue with you. Yes, the vast majority of poetry is elitist, academic bs. I wear with pride the badge given to me as a "non-academic" poet.

Academic poets live off the university press system, which is so inbred that they all just stroke each others' egos, terrified that if they criticize another acadmeic poet, they will also fall under scrutiny.

Just as everyone doesn't love hip-hop, strawberries or cats, I don't think it reasonable to assume everyone must love or value poetry. Poetry is not a mainstream art form. That having been said...

No, to hell with it. You're pretty much dead on. My God, the web is polluted with bad poetry. It has been for years. The way to raise up the quality or survivability of an art form is not by having wine and cheese parties, or by encouraging every semi-literate buffoon to chant whatever comes into his head and call it poetry. I wish I had an answer to it all, but I don't. I'm not a professor, or a media sage, or a promoter, just a poet. And that's fine with me. Good write!

Mo! said...

Thanks. Where did you hear of my blog?