Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Word and Me Two

David Orr, in what I gather will be a somewhat regular poetry feature in the NY Times Book Review, discusses Jorie Graham as Superstar. I've always found her to be the poetic equivalent of the Moody Blues, only moreso. His take is similar only moreso. But what I find to be the most profound statement in the article is his position on poetry today:
At present, American poetry is a fractured discipline -- part profession, part gaggle of coteries, part contest hustle. Its mind may dwell in the vale of soul-making, but its common sense is aiming for the Lorna Snootbat Second Book Prize. Above all, as primarily an academic art, poetry is subject to the same insecurities riddling the humanities in general, in particular the fear of being insufficiently ''serious'' or ''useful.''
That appears to be an accurate depiction of something that's been nagging me of late. The part that made me want to write poetry in the first place has evaporated from the bottle. So I'll be drinking from a new one next month.

2 comments:

John said...

"The part that made me want to write poetry in the first place has evaporated from the bottle."

I've been thinking along the same lines as of late. The bottle, if not empty, has started to taste a bit tannic. It's not so much that I have become disenchanted with poetry, as an art form. It's almost a political decision, like loving America but hating Americans.

jb said...

''Its mind may dwell in the vale of soul-making, but its common sense is aiming for the Lorna Snootbat Second Book Prize.''

''...poetry is subject to the same insecurities riddling the humanities in general, in particular the fear of being insufficiently 'serious' or 'useful.'''

I know what you both mean. I'm no Poet(tm), but I enjoy the art form for its flexibility and intensity that other written art forms lack. I thumb my nose at those wish to 'discipline' Poetry(tm) and pigeon hole it for academics seeking to publish publish publish in order to get a tenure-track position at the snottiest college.

I write poetry my way and I'll keep writing poetry, small p, for me and whoever else feels compelled to surf over to my site and read it. I love it for what it is, not what others wish it would be.

Just because stuffy, dollar-sign-eyed publishers are printing sparkling white whine doesn't mean we should stop making merlot, does it? The net will publish anything, no? -_^

Okay, I'll stop there. BTW, I enjoyed your travelogues, Greg. ^_^