Sunday, May 31, 2009
poetry is not . . .
Whenever someone declares unequivocally that poetry is not something, I try to figure out the root of this emotional response. Not that an emotional response is inappropriate or that the emotion is wrong. But I'm curious to figure out what exactly is the threat to the declarer if people believe poetry is something. I find it hard to believe that exclusion is a "universal truth" -- if something is universal, shouldn't it be more all encompassing? For me, the question always becomes: What's at stake for this person making this declaration?
In the spirit of self-reflection, I decided to go through the archives of my dead blog to see where I declared such to be so. I only found one direct "poetry is not" direct statement, much to my relief:
October 26 2006: "Our ability to make, promote and support poetry is not reliant on how much others are getting."
Well, I don't get off that easily, my writing style and approach is different. I'm less of an all encompassing declarer and more of "let me give you some advice" type. I find the latter considerably less obnoxious, but still, I am trying to influence the way others think of poetry. As a Capricorn, I'm self-conscious as coming off as a dictator. Turns out people resent that shit.
I searched on "If you want" and found these highlights:
January 21, 2009: "If you want to reach more people, study filmmaking or write TV sitcom scripts."
September 17, 2008: "Then I remember that I don't want to become the bitter 50 year old woman in the back row listening to my male peer talk about how you "just have to work" if you want to accomplish something, him seemingly forgetting how someone else took care of his children and home and basically his entire fucking life so he could "just work.""
January 9, 2007: "Working with poets for No Tell Motel is kind of like dating -- you get to know a little about somebody, gives you an idea if you want to work with them again."
September 17 2006: "I could list those magic combination of words on my resume and yeah, that's part of life and if you want to participate and be successful, that's what you're going to have to do, but I don't want that to be part of my poetry."
April 17, 2006: "I'm talking to you, Jordan, I read your blog post about today's NTM poem and all I have to say is if you want those handcuffs removed -- get off your fat duff and do it yourself!"
April 12, 2006: "If you want to say it's no big deal that article shut out the female peers of the men mentioned or bring up the numerous other good deeds of the author and how that evens things out -- fine, that's your right, but don't presume you know a thing about me and for God's sake -- don't lecture me about feminism."
Looking over these comments and posts, it becomes clear to me that I try to influence others by figuring out what it is someone wants, and either put myself in his/her shoes or demonstrate a connection between that person and myself. Then I suggest my "optimal" way of doing it. I make the case, casually and personally. It's the let-me-be-helpful approach. When that approach fails, I seem to switch to the "If you want to be an asshole, be my guest!" approach.
I'm not sure if that's the approach I want continue.
I'm dreaming of back doors with shorter lines, new clothing, waking from sleep and comas.