Postmodern Collage Poetry

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

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Life as Frustrating Prose

Many of the poets whom I admire are part of the poetical academic complex it takes extra time to establish your bona fides as a poet when you are not living in an academic world and its dialogues are sometimes closed off to those of us who do not have the luxury of being paid for our life of the mind.

Having said that I would not trade my life experience and my salary for the life in academia while I am envious of the amount of free time that academics possess. I just wish there was more critique of our society and the noise machine from those quarters.

What is interesting poetically is the complete divorce in the poetry world of concern for audience (or Market as we say in the Business Publishing world). I have often felt that the Poet needs to have the same role as the priest or prophet- to be a voice in the wilderness- or a deep interior voice- that is perhaps not listened to but is heard later or in the quiet. I have also thought that poets needed to claim the role that they play in other cultures that of Frustrating the Prose conversation and introducing poetry as a value into a culture that is dominated by banal prose.

When the concern for audience is divorced from the poetic conversation many times poetry retreats from the essential political vocation it possesses. We then are left with what Bob Archembeau calls "Language Poetry Fundamentalism". LPF has arisen I think because of the fact that, that generation of poets who did so much for us are now ensconced in the established verse culture and they are trying to remain avant garde when what is needed is not avant garde but an engaged and radical poetics that can tear open the Prose Conversation that is now mostly a noise machine.

Just listen to any NPR show when they invite a Right winger on and you begin the get the kind of New Speak that would make Winston Smith proud but amid all this noise and New Speak 'poetry' chooses to retreat not to attack. What passes for Politically engaged work ends up sounding like some of Charles Bernstein's recent poems you know "Got Cancer, have a nice cool bath" irony is not what is needed. I see it all around me; poets who spend their time concentrating on obscurity and minutiae as opposed to the noise machine and trying to make sense of the world we have entered.