Sunday, December 4, 2011

Poetry's problem

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I suspect that most people who write poetry have somehow to come to terms with the eventuality that probably nobody is going to read it. I've determined there are three reasons, the first and most important being that there is simply too goddam much of it. This may be related to the earth's overpopulation problem, or to the fact that anyone who can construct a written phrase or sentence automatically self-estimates as poetry-capable. (If you want to join the Stanford Marching Band,  you might be required to play an instrument first.)

The other reasons are more structural in nature. A poem is a uniquely conceived thought-experiment, which in modern terms requires non-conventional constructions of meaning. Unsurprisingly, this makes the reader's brain hurt. 

Finally, poetry requires a relatively unusual aesthetic sensibility that finds gratification in the choice, progress and associations of words and speech, just as an artist is aware of selecting different shades of color. It is not a common apprehension.


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