poems, mostly metrical, and rants and raves on poets, poetry, and the po-biz (with 8-string stuff)
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Not a Manifesto

But I think I’m done pretending that I give a shit about contemporary poetry. Sturgeon’s Law wouldn’t begin to explain the situation were it not that the law also applies to theories and schools, and poetry is as beset by that noxious pair of hydras as any human activity—more than most since there’s no market for poetry. A grant-and-university-supported art is an art with no consequence, and if even those institutions fail the young poet, the Internet makes it so easy to find a thousand like-minded fools that each can believe himself or herself in the vanguard of a movement.

Of course there are living poets, many younger than I, whose work I admire, and I’ll be glad to name a few of them: A. E. Stallings, Tony Barnstone, Jill Alexander Essbaum, R. S. Gwynn, Catherine Tufariello, Dick Davis, Annie Finch, Marilyn Nelson, Kim Addonizio—I’ll stop before anyone thinks I’m trying to be exhaustive. These are just the ones who occurred to me waiting for dinner to served at the banquet for English-learners in the St Mary’s County schools. And I’m hungry.

And here’s what I hunger for in poems: the sound of a human voice or of human voices, speaking to at least one other human, to a reader at least, expecting to be understood, or at least expecting some human response; speech that exists in at least the penumbra of a story, of human action; speech made memorable by craft, by the rhythmic organization of stress and repeated sounds.

I hunger for slam poets and sonneteers.

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5 comments

1 Mary Alexandra Agner { 12.01.10 at 8:27 am }

It’s a relief, isn’t it, to no longer have to work at liking stuff you don’t actually like? And to no longer have to try to learn something from all the stuff that doesn’t move you. I’m right there next to you in your not-Movement and not-Manifesto.

2 Mike { 12.01.10 at 9:39 am }

Shoulder to virtual shoulder, Mary! Of course “they” will say we’re just another set of internet-connected fools …

3 MAS { 12.01.10 at 7:44 pm }

The lurkers support you in email….

4 Mittens { 12.21.10 at 12:42 pm }

learned a long time ago to like what I like and ignore the rest, whether it be poetry or fiction or any other kind of written word. Just because it’s written by the current darling doesnt make it good, or bad, and just because I like it or dislike it, accomplishes the same thing.
It’s personal taste, and we are not members of the clean plate club on this. If it doesn’t take me by the throat and shake me or move me to serious emotion at some point, I move on. Sometimes its only one poem out of many by one writer that does that, but that one counts. I have my own list, we all do.

If Im willing to plunk down serious money for a poet, that’s what counts.

5 Serge Kappler { 02.07.11 at 10:43 am }

Nicely put, but why do you think that ‘A grant-and-university-supported art is an art with no consequence’? With some exceptions, the reading public does not buy poetry, good or bad. Why not?

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