1 Comment

  1. thomasbrady said,

    October 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    We admire those, who, in their small way, attempt to make poetry more popular.

    But let us point out as gently as we can, the following:

    1. Poetry isn’t Video

    2. Poetry isn’t Artwork

    3. Poetry isn’t ‘What I Did Over My Summer Vacation’

    4. Poetry isn’t busy-work lesson plans for kids [make a list of ____…now…we’re going to make ____ poems!]

    5. Poetry isn’t Slam Poets Spewing Politics with spit running down their chin

    6. Poetry isn’t [fill in your pet screed here]

    7. Poetry isn’t Analytic Philosophy

    8. Poetry isn’t Your Friends Getting Published & Winning Prizes

    9. Poetry isn’t Obscurity for Obscurity’s Sake

    10. Poetry isn’t the Uneducated Giggling About What They Think Poetry Is

    Per the above list–maybe you thought we wouldn’t notice this isn’t poetry.

    We did.

    Poetry, as everyone might tell you, IS a mansion with many rooms, etc

    The above 10-item list constitutes activities which are not even close to ‘the mansion.’

    On rare occasions, indulgence in some of the above is certainly apt, as long as that indulgence is rare. Good taste warrants we indulge in the items on the above list rarely, and if we persist in our attempt at good taste, we might weed out a certain percentage of dimwits, and help to make the practice of poetry respectable, and raise the possibility of insights and breakthroughs: the ‘eureka’ factor, when we find ourselves crying out for joy in that state where poetry as poetry has found us ecstatically indulging in poetry for the sake of poetry.

    An antechamber or two of the mansion is certainly the place for the following:

    1. Debating a point of prosody

    1A. Debating philosophy of composition

    2. Debating literary history

    3. Deconstructing Manifesto-ism

    4. Debating literary worth

    5. Discussing poetry’s place and role in the larger world

    6. Debating poetry’s pedagogy

    Enrich the subject by NARROWING the definition on one hand, and EXPANDING the search for associations to this narrower (truer) identity, on the other.

    Instead, we witness would-be discussions of poetry quickly losing force because they EXPAND precisely where they should NARROW [poetry is everything!] and NARROW where they should EXPAND [poetry is everything!]

    It has been pointed out that Harriet NEVER discussed the wonderful film, ‘Bright Star,’ [a feeble post was posted on Harriet before the film was released, sunk, and the film was simply forgotten, even though a few posters remarked, “I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THIS FILM.”

    This is true. ‘Bright Star,’ perhaps the most beautiful film ever on the subject: poetry, was never discussed on Harriet. Not one word.

    (I predict this lovely film will be ignored by The Academy at Oscar time–chaste passion is just not for Hollywood.)

    We know that we said, ‘Poetry Isn’t Video,’ but the Keats film falls under ‘Debating Literary History,’ ‘Discussing poetry’s place and role in the larger world,’ and even ‘Debating philosophy of composition,’ since the Keats character gives a brief poetry lesson in the film.