I don't usually ad lib my posts - but there've been a few things on my mind lately that I'd like to share. I'm not sure whether this is going to be a rant or even where this is going. Bear with me. As some of you have noted - I have not, as of late, been "as engaged” with poetry as I've been in the past. Actually, I asked poetry to marry me. Bought a ring. Got down on one knee. She said yes, but jilted me at the altar. I'm kinda out there on the rebound - but I'll survive.
Then there's the fact that I've become rather disenchanted with this whole blogging spiel. I mean why should anybody give a crap that I post a poem or music clip or commentary or what you usually come across on poetry blogs: self-aggrandizement. There's enough hot air out in the blogosphere to fill the Hindenburg all over again and then some. Everybody is trying to sound so "deep" but all I keep hearing and reading out there are hollow words. Then when you actually find something on a blog that you want to comment on and do - God forbid if you disagree with the blogger. You're shunned like the proverbial plague. I don't do "brown-nosing" very well I'm afraid. If that means that I am destined to become a pariah in this literary community. So be it!
Strange, I thought that artists in the guise of poets and writers in general welcomed different perspectives. I was led to believe that they welcomed voices of dissent. Voices that were different from the common and that differed from their own. Voices that marched to the beat of a different drum. Is there no room for a poet that does not twist and pivot to the beat? Is there no room here for the stick which will not bend to the stream? Is there no place for a would-be poet that is not published? Must poets only be measured by the prizes and awards that they garner?
In 1901, Joseph Conrad, Thomas Hardy and Leo Tolstoy were all overlooked by the judges who awarded the first Nobel Prize for literature to Sully Prudhomme. Anybody read any Prudhomme recently? Literary awards have become so enormously important to writers and publishers that as Ellen Seligman of McClelland & Stewart says, “If a book isn't on a list, there's a sense in which it doesn't exist." (Well I guess that my poetry does not exist then. It is a figment of my poetic imagination.)
There was a time when writers weren't obliged to take literary prizes seriously. They understood the politics, the bargaining, the subjectivity and the sheer dumb luck that invariably goes into these decisions. Today the writer seems (IMHO) to take these awards too seriously. Your work must win prizes or at the very least be on a short (even long will do in a pinch) list of also-rans.Well, I have made no such lists. And you won't likely be seeing my name bandied about by publishers as an "also-ran".
I write poetry: bad or good, it's all I've got. It gives me pleasure to write and sometimes even to read it. Apparently, it's also given a few readers some pause. That's enough for me. If that makes me irrelevant in the literary world or even in this on-line poetic community - well then that's fine too! Somehow I'd lost track of what this is really all about - the poetry. It doesn't matter if I publish it or not - what matters is that it communicates something - anything.
I'm stepping off the soap box before I get pushed off. Thanks.