7.10.08

no...

At the risk of repeating myself...

Poetry is not a school, nor is it a movement. It’s not really communal. Not in its truest and most perfect presence. It needs liberation. Poetry is solitary, non-conformist – that is, not compelled to its own likeness in the world – and is deeply personal.

Most of the poets I know ... most of the readers I know ... are much too conservative for my taste. They’re out of balance – too tilted toward their own comfort zones, toward the familiar, toward the yes in their lives.

Sometimes we need the no – because without it, we shrivel away.



Will it seek others – not unlike itself – to share, to devour, to enlarge? I would say yes. Does it need others? Yes. A voice, to be a voice, must have an ear.

But, in the words of Ry Cooder … and all the shadows before him – “the very thing that gives you life kills you in the end”.

9 comments:

DeadMule said...

Well said, Sam.

poetwithadayjob said...

I saw Kay Ryan read last night and she was saying something very similar to this - poets have the revelations they have and experiences they have from the inner voice. Responding to it, conversing with it, that's what ends up on the page.

She often read her poems (which are relatively short) more than once, and after reading one such poem the second time, she said "perhaps that makes more sense to you now. Or perhaps not. Sometimes the poems are just for the poet."

She was great. I am currently enjoying Elephant Rocks.

Tilt Press said...

"and is deeply personal" - yes, yes it is.

*sigh*

Tilt Press said...

oh shoot, that was Rachel posting under Tilt.

Nick said...

"Poetry is solitary, non-conformist – that is, not compelled to its own likeness in the world – and is deeply personal."

Perhaps in theory but I question whether this is true in practice.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the read and the comments.

As for the quoted passage, Nick, I would say that it’s not true in practice by most poets. But, it should be. Maybe, the very act of sharing one’s work, of seeking publication - or even having work published can hinder the poetic process.

Kerouac comes to mind - When On the Road was published, he basically stopped writing. After had finished the original draft but before its publication, he continued for a number of years to explore different forms and subjects - developing and refining his skills - writing great works. But after the publication of On the Road, creating the new was impossible. Readers, editors, and publishers wanted that same book written again, that same style, that same form. He stopped being a writer, and become nothing but a shadow of a personality.

Whenever we stop writing for and from the self, art stops.

Nick said...

Sam,

I think that you know enough about my views vis a vis poetry that you realize that I’m in accordance with the statement: “Whenever we stop writing for and from the self, art stops”. But as I sit here I can't help but think that when I was involved in online poetry workshops and my poetry was influenced, if not consciously at least unconsciously, by my participation in said workshop - my poetry seemed to be very marketable. I had no problem publishing my poems. As I’ve drawn into myself- at least strictly from a literary perspective and written more and more to please myself - my poetry seems to have garnered less attention. I appreciate the fact that we ply a “sullen craft” but a little recognition goes a long way in lending credence to the belief that we are not deluding ourselves into believing that our work has merit outside of our own cognitive mindsets.

esk said...

Great thoughts on poetry and writing...couldn't agree more.

Have you ever read any poems by Ai? She is definitely not conservative.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the read, Erika.