Back in February or March, a friend of mine suggested I get a poetry channel. It took me hardly a minute to realize that he had put me together. I realized I could do just that, and maybe there are not a whole lot of others who can. I immediately began formulating the programming that such a channel would have throughout the days and weeks, the interfaces it would have with the web, and with physical poetry sites. That day, I emailed XM Satellite Radio with the idea. A couple weeks later, I e-mailed them with the idea again.
A week or so later, I bought a good amount of bandwidth, and got the domain names http://www.pochapocha.com, http://www.pochamucha.com, and http://www.pochavicha.com. PochaPocha.com is the Positive Change Poetry Channel. PochaMucha.com is the Positive Change Music Channel, and PochaVicha.com is the Positive Change Visuals Channel. Do not click in. Nothing is up yet. Nothing is developed yet. That is what I have so far. That, this blog, and a bunch of friends inside and outside poetry who are behind the idea.
A month ago, when I was interviewed by Deb Powers, I mentioned to her that behind the postings here at Bud Bloom Poetry, were the seeds for positive change in our world through poetry. Before I post here, I consider whether the posting will move toward positive change, or is there some important downside. For instance, even though PochaPocha.com will have erotica through adult identification, Bud Bloom Poetry cannot, now that I have put poetry up that would attract children to the blog. This morning, I had an idea about a tobacco theme with poetry, and opted out.
Some of you know, that Donald Hall has since become the US Poet Laureate, and has decided to pursue a poetry channel on satellite radio. I met him earlier this year in Concord MA at his book signing, love that he is our laureate now, and you already know I must love his idea for bringing poetry into people’s lives. Whereas he has made the seed of his ideas public, and thus far I have made my ideas known by the many e-mails and conversations I have sent to various friends and the XM Satellite Radio people, it occurs to me that it is less important that I spearhead any concept of a poetry channel, but get the ideas out. Everything other people do along these lines is positive, and I can simply watch and fill in where the concepts are not yet fulfilled, the best I can.
The web presence will have less a poetry or archive/filing feel to it, but a happening satellite radio feel to it, with poetry, music, and visuals in abundance and in archives. These web sites are along the lines of what I have in mind:
In the vision for the radio channel, you might be driving home from work, and be listening to a Poetry Idol competition, say. When you get home, you can go online and vote. Or, you might be hearing about some poetry news, and the web site will fill in the stories with either the featured articles, videos and such, and/or links to such items. Or, you may hear a call for submissions for a program or a featured poetry venue or publication, whether that publication be a Pocha Pocha print, radio, or online magazine, or one independent of Pocha Pocha, one we would enthusiastically support because of its positive social contributions.
The web site, though, will have all the features that allow it to go up and running, even before the radio vision is reached, different poetry forums, music and visual forums, for all forms and types of literature and art, for workshopping and sharing resources. At the basic workshop level, when a poet posts a poem, or any artist posts any artwork, or writer any type of literature, for others to give feedback on, the principle of positive change applies. The feedback would come in the way of suggesting how the poet might make positive change to the work. This does not mean it is all nicee-nicee, but that the result would be positive change.
PochaPocha.com is for all genres of written literature, in the sense of the broader use of the term. And in the even broader use of the term, music and visual artwork, any artwork, is poetry as well. So novels, plays, fiction, essays–they are all under the Poetry umbrella of Pocha Pocha. PochaMucha.com is for the audio, the music. Hip hop, might be there, and spoken word poetry in PochaPocha.com, depending on how the originator sees the piece, or the resource. PochaVicha.com is for all artwork that is visual. A music video might be in Pocha Mucha, but a visual piece accompanied by music in Pocha Vicha, depending on how it is perceived, or it could be featured in both domains. Photography and architecture would be in PochaVicha.com, whereas ekphrasic poetry in Pocha Pocha. And so forth.
My instinct for the daily and weekly programming on the poetry channel, tells me to begin by using the pattern of the old television networks, and develop from there. Saturday mornings, for instance, would be for kids. Late night, for erotica and live feeds from nightclubs. Daytime would have poetry that addresses the issues of the life, with game shows, and variety shows. If Donald Hall, for instance, were speaking on a Thursday night somewhere, he might be prime time with a live feed. So might the Pulitzer Prize results, and such.
We would also be looking for poetry in other places, the simple integration of poetry into living. Poetry in the give and take of conversation, just as there is humor in the give and take, even the one-upmanship of the back and forth. This is part of poetry in other cultures. This poetry is a departure from the idea that somehow what we poets do, is write for the ages.
The best we can do with poetry is write for right now, even if the poetry is enjoyed for now, and not remembered tomorrow. We need all types of poetry, accessible and obscure, visual and oral, for children and adults, for young adults, the middle aged, and senior citizens. We need to get off the idea that every poem has to live forever, or that the greatest poets compete with Homer and Rumi in how long a poem will last, that each poem is to be the next Gilgamesh. In this sense, the vision for associated book stores, would be to yes, integrate spoken word with the written, but also have yards or sections where local children can jump rope, clap hands, and chant their chants, come to play.
In the teen aspect of poetry . . . That group is almost trying to teach the rest of us what poetry can be for, and how important it must be, for love, for death, for living, and for growing. They teach the rest of us how important subcultures are, how important words, concepts, ideology, rhythms, and meanings are. If we can accomplish the integration of poetry into our culture in such a way that we are zoned in well, in a healthy way, there will be less teen suicides, less escape and bonding through drugs, less through the negativity in gangs, and more through the positive aspects within subcultures. We do not have the language now. We do not have it for us 50-year-olds, never mind those going through the tough teens, and almost as tough formative years of the 20s and 30s.
When wartime fails, we blame the military leadership all the way up to the president and down to the soldier. If this is true, then when peacetime fails, it is the poet’s fault for not making the positive change within the culture and the world. This does not mean that a poem has to be about or consciously targeted for saving the rivers or ending a war, to bring about positive change. A lyric poem, or a funny narrative, a love song, or a scarey campfire tale, a hero’s death ballad, an elegy, an great ode on anything, has positive effect for us.
Each of us lives in the same extremely negative world, that can be downright depressing. People dying, cutting us off in traffic, laughing after being a mean-spirited idiot, charging too much money, putting people down–jobs that require each of us to sacrifice our souls for the product and paycheck. Looking at the world 20/20, should anger each of us each moment of each day. We can either expend our energies in that negative zone, or live in the positive, where people move toward life instead of death. From this living position, comes a stark honesty with a come-from that makes no room for the negative.
When a negative culture is entered, everyone has complaints and most their better ways, no one is part of the problems, but the problems exists and are never overcome. When a positive culture is entered, even though the negatives exist, life is being cared for, culture is being advance, lives are being lived with more value, charge, and glory in each moment.
It is all about the right rhythms and messages we share. It is all about developing our positive change poetry channel. And everyone goes. Everyone.