Attention: Librarians, Educators i.e Chuckleheads
We know who you are.
One day there was an overwhelming appeal to your better self in the form of admiration for some poetry you read, or the fact that writers as a class seemed to share a greater cohesiveness and integrity than anyone else if only because they appeared to wear their intelligence and worldly sense on their sleeves by virtue of an articulation that was more interesting than anything else since the world, despite its loquaciousness, is largely inarticulate.
Occasionally a poet would accidentally trip over an insight that was the verbal equivalent of associating a puppy dog’s innocence with a baby’s wide-eyed wonder at the world, and you knew you were a poet, because you got it!
When really in the best sense you were simply another notch on the Hallmark card verse school of See Dick, See Jane. Dick is a bastard cause he’s a guy. He dicked Jane. Jane is innocent cause she trusted. Not that Jane wanted to get dicked, or because Jane is too stupid for cereal.
But damn, you were going to tell the story and if you kept writing you knew one day you might litter the pages with your own equivalent of insightful gems – unaware and uncaring that the physical equal would be like Spring Surprises for Joggers in the Park by Alfred E. Dog.
The idea that poets are born to it, that they enter the trade gradually due to the insights that come naturally to them, fascinated and passionate about the ability of words to summon a moment, or create a portrait otherwise seemingly hidden amidst the world, is as far from your perception as is the idea that poetry begets study as well due to such a passion.
The effect poets will have is something of which they are aware, not something they exclusively pursue in order to be admired for such apparent insights.
This would mean they study their ancestors, and their contemporary equivalents. And not just their poetry, their work, but their influences – the poets, novelists, music that influenced them, training themselves to recognize by virtue of intense scrutiny (i.e. reading and watching) exactly how and why certain lines or combination of lines occurred.
And this would mean they read as much as they can of the poets’ work they admire as well as the books they studied and were influenced by. They might even go so far as to attempt to translate, by example, how certain passages of pivotal books came into being, in the modern English standard, by translating from ancient Greek, to modern Greek, to the English passage of say someone like Archilochus, and how he influenced others. (Consider a translation of ancient Greek or Latin of a Bible passage, the influence of Aramaic on the work, and the traces of that being found in modern Italian – or poetically, Catullus, and then, Petrarch).
This would mean a heightening awareness of Latin, Italian, a degree of Hebrew and an interest in Greek literature bringing together a wider perspective on the politics of the times, how that led into Milton and where that was affected by Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare and John Donne – thus effects on Hemingway, etc.
You’d even know why Bob Dylan would persistently study different writings of Thucydides, and Marcus Aurelius, among others. And have a huge Bible propped up on a lectern in a room from which he’d study passages.
You’d be aware of the confusion resulting from equating the work of Kerouac and other beat poets – excepting Kenneth Patchen and his Journal Of Albion Moonlight – with profundity.
Or to illustrate it further if you felt the work of Shelley, you’d be aware that his wife, Mary, wrote Frankenstein. And you’d know the proper title was Frankenstein, or A Modern Prometheus. If you loved the work of Shelley, you’d see influences of William Blake, and thus effects of Swedenborg, and how that tied into work by Strindberg, which would lead to Ibsen, the brilliance of Harold Pinter, and along the way the work of Rimbaud, Gerard de Nerval, Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, and Alfred Jarry (Ubu Roi – and the Pschitt family-, rights owned by Paul McCartney), etc.
And if you loved the poetry of Shelley, you would be well aware of a book that he read repeatedly by William Godwin titled An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice among others. Which of course would lead you to know that he was married to Mary Wollstonecraft who wrote A Vindication Of The Rights Of Women where she argued for equality and a society of reason – in 1792, far ahead of celebritized goobers like Steinem and her pitifully inadequate purported attempts to achieve a similar thing.
You’d know all of this without having studied.
Because your passion for the art of poetry brought you to that.
This is much the same as Allen Ginsberg, the person. Who could – and would – quote pages of William Blake by memory due to the sheer magic of the passages read singularly, and then again, together.
You’d be well aware of the manipulation and pandering towards Christians and the Christian audience evidenced by the treatment/slander Dinesh D’Souza gives him and his kind – gay – in his book, America. Not that I’m particular about that but I hate seeing ignorance pandered to in the guise of well-meaning and greater awareness.
That would alter your perspective on the book, the politicized action of it, how it’s being taken, and that would mean therefore every other political statement, and supposed quote.
Holy shit, you’d be a thinking, reflecting person, not an arm-waving, fist throwing moron. Really, who wants that kind of reader.
But I overstep, because it seems an entire shitpot of you do.
You don’t know those things, you don’t study, you have no interest in Literature, or Poetry. If so, it’s minimal. Like Leonard Cohen says in Hallelujah, ‘but you don’t really care for music, do ya.’
One of the reason I know you aren’t interested in becoming real poets is that poetry changes you. It alters your conscience, your mind, your psychological determinations, your internal rhythms, and your well being. (check: how you feel when you hear a song that lifts you up).
It is more long lasting than anything else. It is the difference between a real poet, by example Van Morrison’s Real Real Love, or Days Like This, and some hokey shit like a rap song equating dick with a gun and defense against the POlice and hitting bitches. Classy. Or some Sixties shit like Seasons In The Sun vomit. (‘We had laughter, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun’ – fuck off). The latter examples are the real violence done to your sensitivities.
To bring it to my individual experience. Any poet I knew, great and famous, or simply good and well known, never lacked for time to spend talking about my work, or theirs, or a rival’s.
Only the assholes had to mock, denigrate, demean other writers.
Where’s that put you wankers who cannot even take the moments to check to see who ‘clicks’ a supposed ‘Like’ on your internet postings, and return the favor?
This is aligned with what I’ve said here in regards to the poet, poetry, literature, culture and politics, and the way in which they are interwoven.
Most of the poetry on the internet is the equivalent of nurse novels, bodice rippers, geared to the untrained and unlearned mind of a class of people uninterested in improving themselves – because that is where it starts. Not school, not parents, not corporations, politics, or in any rebellion against such.
So the navel gazing retards give birth to more of the same.
It might not seem like much. You know, – morons? who cares? But the pervasiveness of such an amount of stupidity masquerading as aware and learned is simply passive aggressiveness enshrined.
I did have someone say, ‘I bought your book (I have 14 done, maybe 4-5 more in the works), did you buy one of mine?’
Fuck, no. I haven’t read Philip Levine’s latest and my library sucks for cheese. Also, you might believe in yourself, you might be passionate about writing (“The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.” – Yeats, The Second Coming), but you aren’t lasting, not memorable in the slightest recall of any particular lines or ideas within your work, and possibly don’t even try to achieve that.
Real poetry is the modern equivalent of insight, revelation, and time-altering change all wrapped up in the brevity of Literature.
Not to mention, it is not a tacit agreement with the moneyed publishers, and their little cohorts who make a pretense of writing and being writers, and poets; and who, by doing so, inhibit the ability of real poetry to get to the mass of people where it belongs, substituting instead the versification of intellectual quadriplegics dancing as if.
Want the real thing? This was not only a well intentioned ‘rant‘ as they say (to de-legitimize) – but a guide towards the discovery of my work. But if you don’t own any of my books, it could be said you have Van Gogh’s ear for music, or better yet, Helen Keller’s eye for details.