Tuesday, September 07, 2021

oh, poetry....

 I've been trying this summer, at least once a week to have more writerly focused content--at least one post per week devoted to solely that, and I find I still have a lot to say on projects and my own process and history, but today, as I sat down on this final day before plunging into a new semester, I found I had nothing at all to say. The world feels heavy and I feel uninspired, so this may be part of it. My focus was everywhere last week, and nowhere good, so while I usually jot down a few ideas for posts, nothing stuck. But then maybe that subject matter is a post in itself.  How heavy the world feels and how that heaviness makes it harder to write.  

There was some buzz I was barely following on Twitter (becuase I still haven't figured out how anyone follows anything on that platform), but the gist was a that a poet seems to have been talking about how poetry matters to no one but poets.  Which then was taken as an offense, by, you know, poets. Poets who have a lot of words, thus much buzzing,  I've been scheduling tweets in advance, so don't hang out there as much as I do on that old dinosaur facebook and instagram,   But I can't say that the initial poster is wrong, as book sales and public interest in poetry, particularly academic poetry, attest.  But then, she is probably wrong about poetry in general, which seems to be having, as I mentioned a few posts ago, a "moment." (not my poetry but someone's poetry.) Poets like to buzz about things like this every so often, and no one is really wrong or right.   No, it seems a hard lot when the thing you are most passionate about is mostly ignored in a world where very few people read at all, even fewer read "literature" and even fewer than that, poems. Someone will usually come along and say that poets need to be more (insert accessible, political...etc.) Or that it's our fault that we've wandered do far down this path--our own navel gazing, inaccessibility, cliquishness, lack of audience.  Some blame Ezra Pound and modernists for making poetry so damn hard. 

I don't know.  I suppose I've looked at the greater world of poetry, which is more an interconnected set of various worlds and communities, some of which are more insular than others. I suppose the writing that I create has a much smaller audience than, for example, the collages or paintings I make .  Than anything that is battling for anyone's attention on the web. I could write the sort of poems that have a certain kind of appeal, but those aren't really the poems I want to write.  Probably the best comparisons come in other art forms entirely.  People flock to see the next comic book blockbuster, buy the next NYTimes bestseller, listen to the newest album by their favorite musician, but so much also happens in those genres that are not drawing millions. Indie films and books and music releases.  The difference might be in audience, though.  I can love an indie film or record, without being a filmmaker or musician, but you'd have a harder time finding one of those artists who are down with contemporary poetry.

I think poets fight a lot because the resources are pretty limited but the stakes so high and low at the same time so the goal might be to change that and interest will follow.  Or maybe not...the world is so fucked up and so obviously stupid because people don't read anything but what they are fed by the algorithms that are spreading misinformation like wildfire. Let alone poems (or just the humanities in general,) which may be the only thing that could save us.  

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