Saturday, August 4, 2012

it's remarkable

In other words, I find it worth remarking on. It's a kind of mystery. I don't know what it means.

Almost all the poems I encounter on Facebook and on personal blogs range from not very good to astonishingly bad. Some instantly alter my brain chemistry, filling the space between my synapses with sulfur dioxide, making my eyes sweat and burn.

Almost all the poems I read by people who get published in journals and in small presses range from not very good to astonishingly bad.

Almost all the poems I read by prize winners and laureates range from not very good to astonishingly bad.

A great poem is a rare thing. Even a really good one is unusually hard to come upon.

What's going on?

Why write poems if those poems are not on the aesthetic level of Keats's To Autumn or something by Pavese or Tranströmer?

I don't buy the argument that it's all a matter of subjective taste. That those poems I deem sucking can still be good or great poems if someone else thinks they don't suck. I may not have amounted to much, but I have, gradually, become this (more so recently, for some reason): hyper sensitive to what is on the highest level of aesthetic creation. That will just have to suffice as my counter argument.

I do realize that writing can have an experiential meaning, regardless of the quality of work. Falling into the trance of words while making a poem can bring a sense of adventure, fantasia, and color to a consciousness.  But after writing the poem, a certain aesthetic judgment should kick in to prevent inferior work from entering public space.

I wish I had thought of this two or three years ago. I would not have sent my own poems into the public arena. But what's done is done. And I'm way too lazy to withdraw my poem collections.

The mystery persists: why are so many people writing so many poems that aren't great or even good poems? It almost seems like a mass contagion of poetic hysteria. Or a tsunami of lines and stanzas coming ashore with unflappable, unrevised determination.

Only the most well-crafted and aesthetically astounding poems should be written. Or at least only those should be publicly offered. Otherwise, I don't understand what's happening at all.

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