Posted by: birdmaddgirl | 18 November 2014

random half-baked poet thoughts

what are people talking about when they debate whether or not there is ‘music’ in poetry these days? i hear a few things that make me uncomfortable swirling around some of these discussions. among them, education/study – doesn’t that mean (at least in part) that poetry only belongs to the leisure-class? that the music that matters is the music of some particular forefathers -they are always a particular shade of fathers somehow- and all the other less-applauded music isn’t relevant? somehow no one ever seems to think they just might be missing the beat…

or the beat is too literal. too slam. too performance. the sound carries too much meaning and the meaning is too identity, too earnest, too something. fair warning: if a person paints all slam poetry as crap, then i find their judgement super suspect. i ain’t into pistachio ice cream, but that doesn’t mean i don’t like ice cream.

i am not a poet of witness. i am a poet. and if i happen to be sharp enough on a good day to see what’s up over there, so be it. that’s the work. i come from the working class and poetry is work. for a while i let the silencers tell me otherwise, from all sides. if a poet isn’t saying something about who they are and who you are and who we are all collectively, best be suspect. and if a poet refuses to perform, refuses to admit that the audience matters, that poet has already turned their back so what are they witnessing? where’s the work?

and if i have to put in x hours at the dayjob, plus x hours in at pretending to be a functional adult, plus x hours sleeping and eating, plus x hours existing in the world and touching other human lives – if i only have q minutes and hours i steal from other responsibilities to read, nevermind write, poetry, my education and taste and ear become suspect, i guess. but i bemoan the poetry i haven’t read yet. i try to buy it up and fill my shelves so it will be staring me down and demanding my attention in those not-spare seconds. mostly it makes me feel guilty and bad for not having time enough. i read a lot of poetry on the bus. (i learn a lot about what makes a poem pop you in the gut on the bus.) then when someone well-read comes over for a lending spree and says i have lots of poets they’ve never heard of, i feel at least i’m making the effort. one page at a time.

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