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comment by _refugee_

I will say I find the current atmosphere of modern poetry to be entirely too "serious", without humor, certainly incapable of looking at itself with any humor or without a certain smug pretension. Half of the rockstars I see coming up in the modern poetry community are writers I could never be or write like because I don't have the requisite experience with oppression or want to constantly write about it.

There are fun poets and fun poems out there, and even fun lit mags that have a better attitude. But they're one offs, hard to find, and as a whole the community doesn't foster these groups or people with such attitudes at all - there isn't going to be a renaissance where everyone stops looking down their noses anytime in the foreseeable future in the poetry community, (I guess the American poetry community is the one I'm mostly referring to and have experience with) and it's a pity. Poetry's very busy isolating itself.




humanodon  ·  184 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yes, I agree that the American poetry community in general is overly earnest and self-inflated. I think I've shared this before, but in Jennifer L. Knox' A Gringo Like Me we see one of those hard to find examples that you're talking about. Maybe it's just me, but poetry in the popular consciousness (in English at least) is supposed to be something transcendent, transformational. It's supposed to be achievable by an elevated class of humanity and enjoyed by similarly elevated people, which is fucking dumb. Anyway . . .

cW  ·  176 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is hilarious, thank you for posting it. Reminds me of a poem one of my classmates wrote for workshop, which is published now, apparently, in her collection. Unfortunately, the published version took out my favorite line, which, if I recall correctly, went "The dog is at the ass end of the yard." Anyhow, the poem's still quite good, and happens to be part of the google books sample, if you wanna check it out: https://tinyurl.com/y9sh5dda

humanodon  ·  174 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Haha, it was a decent poem, but I think I would've liked to have seen that line in it. Congrats by the way on the album! Hope all is well in cW world!

cW  ·  173 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks a ton, man! Things are going pretty well, and I'm aiming onward and upward. Heading down to the RV inspection place to pick up our airstream today, so that's big news. What's new in your world?

It's so funny and true about workshops, in my experience: the writer always ends up taking out your favorite line. Oh well, it's worth it getting to be part of the creative process, I suppose. De gustibus non disputandum est! (Or some such).

ArtemusBlank  ·  185 days ago  ·  link  ·  

As someone that has competed in poetry slams before, I can agree with this. I do a lot of humor and satire pieces but they just don't resonate with an audience at times because the poetry slam audience is a lot of times looking for that piece about race, despairing emotion or some other social issue. It is the same thing over and over again with some different words I feel. It's frustrating to compete at times because I kinda know what the audience is looking for but it's not exactly me. There are times when I hit well with an audience but It's become less and less often these days. I could conform to what the audience wants as I'm a minority myself but I really don't want to go down that road because it wouldn't fully be me. There are times when I look at the poetry slam community and I just walk away to other poetry scenes that don't focus on slam at all because I feel like I fit in better at places where no one really cares about slam.

rd95  ·  185 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    There are times when I look at the poetry slam community and I just walk away to other poetry scenes that don't focus on slam at all because I feel like I fit in better at places where no one really cares about slam.

Do that. Write for a new audience, yourself.

_refugee_  ·  185 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Art often is about/driven by self-expression and I agree that this should be among a young (or even old) artist's driving forces to create. However, it's foolish to think that art and self-expression can exist in a vacuum without an audience and that be totally fulfilling. If you only share your self-expression with yourself, it can feel kind of masturbatory.

It's not satisfying to create art that just collects dust afterwards. Maybe Dada would put on a ballet show for an audience of no one but we should acknowledge that art, from writing to dance including everything in between, almost universally relies upon an audience as much as a creator. What can you really effectively express if you only express it to yourself? Art is a conversation and writing is and wants to be part of that conversation.

I see a lot of the time that "you should write just for you!" and yes you should do that but that aphorism also puts this idea into heads that "you shouldn't want or need an audience to feel good about what you create," which I think falls a little far from the truth. I write great poems that I love but once I write them, I also want to share them with people. And it's natural and understandable to have that desire and feel irritated when the literary structure/canon/environment in which you write is never going to embrace you -- I still write, sure, and I find people to share things with -- it shouldn't ever stop someone from creating -- but tell you what it sure can do is knock the wind out of your sails a little.

rd95  ·  185 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I agree. Mostly. I think in the case of ArtemusBlank though, who has complained quite a few times about the slam scene this past year, that maybe he oughta try something new for a bit. Maybe rediscover why he fell in love with poetry in the first place. Sometimes you just gotta let go of the world and be you, if even for only a little bit.

cW  ·  175 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I feel like the best rationale for "writing for the audience that is yourself" is to write that which compels you, in order to make sure you're speaking valuably to all those people more or less identical to yourself (which, statistically speaking, in a world so well populated, is a whole lotta people), and to all of the other types of people engaged in meaningful conversation with those people (which is actually a staggeringly large group of people). None of those people (except yourself) may be in the room with you, or perhaps even in your county. But they are most assuredly out there, in serious numbers. And one is much more likely to have deep, richly nuanced layers of meaning and intensity in expression for that audience than they are for the one that happens to be three tables over at the coffee shop.

Also, if you don't write (at least largely) for yourself, then you will likely have forsaken your inner compass, which probably has a great deal to do with why you started writing in the first place. I'm not going to pretend it's the only guide of value (I've heard Yanni doesn't listen to others' music, so as not to pollute the purity of vision), but ignoring it entirely is, in my opinion, a hollow and baffling experience.

am_Unition  ·  185 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Jives well with the notion of "weaponized prestige" I've been railing against in my own personal life.

Communities of repute foster stagnation all too often, unless they have some specific characteristics instilled into their cultures. Still sniffing out those characteristics, but most are intuitive; healthy skepticism of authority, utilitarian, inclusive, etc.