Feeling crushed by indifference this week. Probably the letdown after recent obsession with re-doing my books.

Depressed by (1) lack of interest in my poetry, (2) extent of my own obliviousness/evasion regarding the true situation, (3) the fact that I'm depressed by this stuff.

I observe layers of Poetry World, wherewith none of which I belong. The younger set (soi-disant bohemia, NY School, Langpo, jeunes academiques, etc). The academic professionals. The magazine editors.

This (my current) state of mind leads to screwy ideas, usually.

Poetry itself, the art form, the vocation, has these vague layers too. But to explore the phenomenon takes patience, attention, even some study... the crowded scenes militate against such things (although, by the same token, generosity & openness & collaboration & sharing are the beginning of wisdom).

Ted Berrigan warned against the "language meanies" (by which he meant perhaps the Langpos, or perhaps literary mandarin/snobs in general). But the populist slangy informal attitude (everybody in the Big Tent) doesn't do complete justice to poetry either.

Poetry can be elusive; it's not always going to show its hand to lazy readers, ambitious scenesters or shallow hangers-about. It's not always going to be visible, even.

Then, or now & again, a terrific talent emerges through a popular mode or style, by complexifying it with subtlety & feeling & knowledge. Grafting other things onto it. I could see that possibly happening sometime within the NY School milieu (maybe it already has, what do I know).

(Which reminds me of another New Yorker feature this week, on master engineer/architect Cecil Balmond. Fascinating article, Hart Crane would have loved this guy. Engineers like bridges especially, because they're function/form is so intense, focused, all right there visible. Engineering is the channeling of gravity through structure. Balmond talks about algorithmic design... want to read his book (Informal).)

Some secret gravity leads poetry & the poet toward the center of the cultural life of an era. It's not going to happen within the perfected idiom of a particular school/style. It's not going to happen within the dutiful (& ambitious) realm of academic-professional poets. It's not going to happen within the (self-centered) vain hoo-rah of the populist/hipster carnival.

The gravity involved has something to do with a poet obsessed and driven to find a way of talking to everyone, ie. communicating, about the concerns of the present moment with a new vision of those concerns and either a very personal, characteristic means of expression or a very clear transparent impersonal means of expression.

Again, it's the sense that poetry involves something uncanny, which can't be manipulated, channeled or domesticated. The idea of the poet's social role which I was trying to get at in earlier post : close to the prophetic, that is, somewhere between Iron Age & Golden Age. That's why the poet at this range won't settle down within the established cultural routines : there's some furor going on, something percolating & molten at the core of the culture itself.

These ponderings perhaps only the crazy & twisted sour grapes of someone who doesn't fit in to Poetry World at the moment... take them with a grain of salt, please - don't be demagogued by me... plus it's Friday afternoon & I simply must get out of the library...

No comments: