memorial for a brilliant woman

Monday, February 04, 2008

The responsibility of poets

To each other, if nothing else-

Check out this blog post by Oscar Bermeo re: Charles Simic and the state of poetry.

I commented : (edited)

I agree with you completely! I facilitate and participate in readings in the Richmond, VA area and while we have an active poetry communiy, if twenty people attend a reading, it's a raving success.

Simic could easily use his position to promote, rather than assume since he gets a crowd poetry is healthy. His last visit here was packed because tickets were given away and poetry students at two local colleges were required to attend.

The responsibility is ours, too. There is nothing more annoying than the poet who reads and leaves with his or her entourage. Or the poet who refuses to go to open mikes because they might hear "bad" poetry. A well-run open mike gives everyone a chance but doesn't let anyone dominate, bad or good.

More from my perspective:

One of my pets peeves involves the various poets who do readings when they have books to promote but never attend any local events or support local poetry. I will excuse older folks, who do have trouble with night driving, but an occasional visit to open mikes would increase their local status and maybe sell a book or two. (Hint- those are the people who will follow your career and buy your next book).

Another peeve is the university community and their apparent disdain of non-academic poetry. If I hear one more time "well, they're so busy." I might go postal! We're all busy, some of us REALLY busy and our poetry is written in the tiny spaces we carve out of our quite busy lives.
(Hint- those are the busy people who will follow your career and buy your books).

Poetry is dead when it cannot connect with the world in which it is created (there may be rare exceptions, but we don't know those poets- yet). A reading or open mike may be painful occasionally, but it may also be painfully sublime.

Support Your Local Poets!


Clay Blancett said...

HA! Go, Shann, Go!

WC said...

Some poets are good .. and deserve the adulation they receive ... I have been to hear many whom I had heard of .. and assumed I was in for a treat ... sometimes (translated 'often') ... this is not the case ...

I try so hard when I go to poetry readings to make sense of what I am hearing ... I close my eyes .. cup my hand to my ear ... then assume it is "me" ... in the end ... I feel I have witnessed a plane .. a train .. a truck ... a car ... and a jogger … all leaving the city ... have no clue from where they came ... have no idea .. where they are headed ... and in the end ... couldn't care less ...

The current state of poetry is good .. because there are a lot of good poets out there ... and I thank those who are .. those who take the craft seriously .... unfortunately ... you have to kiss a lot toads .. to find your prince or princess.