Monday, June 06, 2005

So much for my easing back into the 9-5 grind with as little trauma as humanly possible. Did not find it hard to roll out of bed so early, but waited 27 minutes for a bus (virtually unheard of during rush hour) and then found my way onto a late and increasingly crowded bus barely creeping on LSD (the road, sadly not the drug) all the way downtown. Was way late and cranky.

On the way, I was reading Kooser's Poetry Home Repair Manual, which though geared toward beginners I think, had some interesting stuff to say on metaphor and line breaks, and the whole idea of writing with some sort of audience in mind. But I think he goes too far on the last thing, advocating a very simple, very vanilla, and, I hate using this word derogatively but, boringly accessible. Almost catering to the lowest common denominator, that anyone, poetically versed or not, should be able to fully understand the nuances (if there are any) of what you write. I think you should have an audience in mind, or maybe a specific kind of reader, or group of readers, and your poems should satisfy you and those readers. But catering to your average non-literary person, one content, and even responsible for the crap that passes as culture and entertainment(reality tv, Hollywood movies, most pop music)...and you're going to be writing some damn uninspiring poems. He claims that people are put off by the difficulty inherent in a a lot of verse. Yeah, well some people are put off by the difficulty of anything over a 5th grade reading level. I hate to sound elitest and snobby. Maybe it's just I like things a bit dark, and complicated, and beautiful. And it's not even an academic bias, since I'm especially wary of that term,. I don't think people should be "difficult" for difficulty's sake, but I think you should give the potential poetic audience alot more credit than some people seem to. People will find their way to the poetry that invites their interest, no matter how accessible or seemingly inacessible it is.

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