This world of poetry is rife and riven with competition and perceived heirarchal pressures. We need more individuals and organizations, or more individuals and organizations visible, getting behind the poetry rock, pushing it up the mountain to where it belongs, where society wants it, and where people outside the poetry community know it ought to be, for the good health of all society.
Poetry is often put down, through competitive impulse, sense of shame, or fear–whether these impeti are rooted in the perceived only or in reality. It is time to be free, to be freed by ourselves first. It is time to place the current unhealthy psychosocial positions of the community of Western poets, into the unreal where they belong.
Worst case scenarios for poets occur where, over the world, poets are being arrested and killed for writing poetry. But so-called “free” societies work subtly and powerfully upon human natures, poets being both human and natural.
As a child, often when my younger sisters would sing, I would tell them to be quiet, that I did not want to hear it. Now, I want everyone singing, in the sense of allowing poetry to flow from our cultures. Some say we have too many writers, and not enough readers. Let us worry less about audience, and more about community. For this is where our strength comes from, and this is where our most powerful messages, our most playful word crafting, most beautiful songs, and greatest shamanistic utterings, go forth from.
This past century, a shame came to poetry. The willy-nilly idea that great musings would lead to great society, destined the moderns into taking blame for the holocaust and other atrocities, in the most atrocious century ever. Poetry, especially from the West, seemed to have been leading culture nowhere special indeed, but making matters horrifically worse. Western culture, and therefore Western poetry, was called to judgment. And it has been quite a trial.
We said, don’t sing romantic, don’t sing modern, anymore. Beat counterculture, Eastern maybe, ancients revisited maybe, plus the great postmodern movement came into being. Some great poetry has come from it.
Nowadays we have the Collins/Kooser movement of accessibility, with the idea of inclusion–readability, and audience. More don’ts. “Don’t sing difficult themes” is the song. “We’re doing this, not that, now,” comes the call from up the heirarchy. “Communicate–be sure what you’re saying is clear,” they say. Not Collins and Kooser, if you listen, but those hopping on the bandwagon with the banners of those poets. Again and still, the moderns are to blame. But, according to this movement, the postmoderns are no help at all, impotent, in fact counterproductive–as if we need to produce poetry with an eye toward consumption and demographics.
Let’s instead pick up where we got hurt. Let’s say “Not guilty.” Let’s not shut down roads, because we find murderers use them too. Let’s stop being underground. Let’s be strong in community, savvy now, and visible again.
(Think of this more as a bud, than a bloom)