The Poetic Business and Poetry
Random Thoughts from a Ranting Poet
Official Verse Culture
Much has been made over the past few years about ' official verse culture' . It is true that certain subjects and certain types of poets are usually published others are not. I am convinced that the locus of the ' poetic problem' is that fact that so many of our poets are university people. The result of this reality is that an air of unreality exists around poetry that does not exist around other artforms.
Business of Poetry
The second part however however is part of the business of poetry. The objective is seems of many experimental editors and publishers is to publish work written by a certain type of poet- usually white, sometimes not, usually liberal, sometimes not and a poet who is well connected to the business of poetry. I plead guilty at having work published by friends of mine- not that the poems were not worth publishing- but without that little extra boost? Who knows if they would have seen print? The problem is that whole categories of verse and poetry are now unseen in the poetic scene. I recently had a chapbook rejected by a major magazine not because the poems were not good or well crafted but because the work was " too political" I am still trying to find out what part of life is not political? The fact that I go an buy my bread at Liborio Bakery from the Italian baker and dont buy my bread from Whole Foods is political, the fact that I do not read many Harper Collins Books (Owned by Rupert Murdoch) is political.
The problem is vapidness- how many more books do we need by writers who went to an MFA program at 22 and now are writing about their 'experience' of Zoroastrianism or Kabbalah or the Poetry of the Pelvic curve? I think that it is time for poets to begin to ask is the poetic echo chamber all that we have to sell to? I think that we can do more and getting one's book published by Wesleyan press or impressing Ron Silliman is not what poets should be doing. Poets should be in the vanguard not a group of syncophants.
I have been spending my Saturday today sending out submissions and I am sure that most of them will be rejected. I am going to submit to Poetry Magazine again not because they will take my work- but out of principal if they are going to continue to publish the garbage they print then I will continue to send out work to them and keep collecting rejection notes.
So Poets is poetry in this Republic only to be a poetics of the comfortable? Of the Politically Correct?
Speaking of cool poets whom I respect- in February Lisa Jarnot and Robert Creeley are appearing on Chicagopostmodernpoetry.com and since I am a Catholic I need to create saints and Lisa is for me the Patroness of my Generation X . When I read her work I hear my generation in her work. Our poor generation that sits between the Baby Boom and Millenium a generation where many of our parents ended up on that Black Granite wall in Washington and most of our parents divorced or spent the decades in self absorbed dreams.
Lisa reclaims for us the complexity and fineness of poetry and her interview is great.
As to Robert Creeley- the Patron Saint of connections I must say that I have always loved Robert Creeley's work. I have been always influenced my ' intellectual chains' I fell in love for example with Thomas Merton in College and he led me to John of the Cross, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Ad Reinhardt and Ernesto Cardenal- Robert Creeley led me to Charles Olson, Pound, Duncan and so many others and it was a book by Robert Creeley that I chose to carry with me on the Inca trail in Bolivia and carry with me on my sojourn in South America-
Robert Creeley is America's greatest living poet- sorry John Ashbery. (having said this Michael Palmer will be the greatest once Robert Creeley is no longer with us)
So we are off to Brazil this week- I cannot wait our first vacation in three years and summer in January perfect