Postmodern Collage Poetry

A blog about writing collage poetry, post modern poetry, multi lingual poetry

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Poetry, and Transcendence

Last week I went out with some local poets. Along the way I ended up talking to one of our local poetic lights about Spirituality, transcendence and poetry. The truth is that most poets that I know are not concerned about Transcendence. I do not know why this is the case but the fact is that most poets are at best agnostics.

There is a real aversion to religion among poets. Some of this aversion comes from poet's personal experiences some of it from a need to seem more progressive than they really are and some of it comes from the fact that many poet's personal lives could not fit into the moral rigors of what transcendence requires.

The fact is however that Poetry as an artform like music, visual art and dance are most spiritual . If you look back at poetic history some of the most important poets of the past 4000 years have been transcendent writers.

The litany is long but just to name a few, The Psalms, the Gita, Koran, Dante, Homer were poets who were concerned with the spirit world and how that interacts with the temporal world.

The last poets of note in the recent period who were concerned with 'Transcendence" were William Everson, Denise Levertov, TS Eliot and Thomas Merton. But it is in spite of these writers transcendent interests that they are read. It is because their work is fine not because of its content the we still read them.

I think the real problem is that so many Spiritual and Religious poets are so bad so unskilled. I know of a few contemporary poets who are 'Transcendent' who are fine poets, Kazim Ali, Garin Gycholl, a few others but so many others works are dreadful and unartful and it makes it easy to ignore this sense.

I recently went to Unity Temple here in Oak Park which is a few blocks from my house. There is something transcendent about Unity Temple. I keep looking for transcendent in poetry and I cannot find it . I look at poetry and I read allot of it and I keep looking for transcendence.

I have read over the past year allot of books, I found transcendence in Gobrowitz's diary, Skhlovsky's Night's Move in Garin Gycholl's new book, and a few others. But there is not allot out there in poetry to do for us what Unity Temple or San Damiano do for the soul.

The soul is ignored many times.

Soul food is what I am looking for, someone to encapsulate poetic architecture the way Wright does with a building. I think however to do this you need to move beyond irony. Irony and transcendence cannot co exist in the same work and therein lays the conundrum.