Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Poet Formerly Known As Greg Perry

I’ve been working out this poetry funk this month while walking and writing the spring. There’s a number of streams flowing into this depression. I’ll just name them here as if they were crooked lines on a map. Publication fever. Cronyism. Intolerance. Pretentiousness and self-importance. Professionals and phonies. Cliques and prima dons and donnas. And more.

Sounds like the real world, doesn’t it? Well, maybe, but it’s not the world I chose when I first started writing poetry. Look, I believe in craft and hard work. Good poetry doesn’t come easy. Workshops at least taught me that. But there’s more important things than what journal should I send this little darling to and when will my manuscript be accepted by those bastards. Or the endless practice of exclusion. Avant Garde or Quietude: Silliman and Snider shame on youse guys.

Capitalism ultimately bends everything to its sway. Poetry isn’t any different. But I forswore marketing and corporate whoredom in my work life and damned if I’ll let it creep in here. So starting today, I no longer write poetry as Greg Perry. I’ve taken a nom de plume and plan to write again for fun and rediscovery.

Let me digress. I purchased an iPod last December and I’ve been rediscovering pop music, Will Oldham for one. And I love the way he makes his music under names such as Palace Brothers and Bonnie Prince Billy. Mark Oliver Everett is another one: The Eels. As for band names themselves, I’ve always liked Son Volt, Jay Farrar’s offshoot of Uncle Tupelo (another good name). But Son Volt has, for me, always contained references to the great bluesman Son House as well as its solar connections.

And so I’ve chosen Son Rivers, for similar and differing reasons. I’ve always lived in the Merrimack Valley. I’ve studied its history and even written a thesis on its industrial heyday. As for Son, I like the musical references as well as its childlike connotations. I’ll always be one. So here’s the first short poem written by this fresh new poet:
Son Rivers

I’m a son of rivers,
born of water, earth and
sky, a slant reflection
of ancestral outcry.

-Son Rivers 2005
Oh, the blog is still mine. Only the poetry is his. Crazy stuff, huh?

5 comments:

secondsb4wake said...

Love the post; good for you!

I am constantly fighting against the forces that be to retain my spirit and spontaniety, it takes tanacity!

BeckoningChasm said...

I keep thinking a pseudonym might help me do an end-run around writer's block. But the pseudonym guy just wants to watch DVDs all the time.

Great real band names: The Punishment of Luxury, Grab Grab the Haddock, Popular Piano Made Unpopular.

Greg said...

Fight on! Natalie.

Good band names, bc, but not so much pseudonyms.

jb said...

''Capitalism ultimately bends everything to its sway. Poetry isn’t any different. But I forswore marketing and corporate whoredom in my work life and damned if I’ll let it creep in here.''

Depressing, but damn true. For giggles I investigated what The Publications were for making a splash with a short story. All roads led to Esquire. Having never read it before (!) I picked up a copy and was revolted.

Corporate whoredom indeed. Would I want to publish between a sexist cologne ad and a Versace splash? A resounding ''NO.'' And the thought of editors cutting The Good Stuff in favor of advertiser-friendly stuff made me queasy.

Hats off and a deep bow, Son Rivers.

Greg Perry said...

Bummer, dude! I think your little identity crisis is a little frivolous, but whatever. No accounting (and there should not be) for artists. I inevitably stumbled across you while trying to get a namesake domain, and acknowledge that you have a hell of a lot to say and I can't begrudge you beating me to the name I wanted. But this latest statement puts me in a quandary. Do I put you in the Other Greg Perrys page that I'm compiling or not, since you've renounced your identity?

On the other hand, are you willing to give up gregperry.net? I'd be more than willing to trade it for a sonrivers.(whatever) domain. Let me know.

P.S. I respect the area where you live. I was stationed at Ft. Devens for 3 years, and was sworn in as a US citizen at Lowell Superior Court. The place is not only beautiful, it's seeping history out its pores.