Almost all the poetry I come across being written these days sucks. I don't know how to say it in a more diplomatic manner. I'm talking all venues -- among Facebook's millions of poets, on blogs, or in important journals. Almost all of it is so bad it makes my spirit sag. Poetry these days seems to be an aesthetic-free zone. More like a pretentious or boring abyss than a source of wonder and art.
But my inclination is to suspect there is something wrong with me. No one else seems to think most poetry being written these days is unreadable. I had begun to think my sensibility is screwed up. That maybe I needed shock therapy. Something. Because I do like to read good poems.
When I read novels or listen to music or look at paintings, I appreciate the stuff that makes the world, if only for peculiar durations, expand and deepen. Make it seem not ordinary. The effect has something of the uncanny about it. As if there is an invisible aesthetic source from which a stream of quality moves into and through certain works. Who knows what this is and how it's possible? I certainly don't. But I know it's real when, for a brief time, I wade into these liquid currents of quality. When these special works release a form of mystical opium into my neurons. A dark aesthetic bliss purls inside my imagination.
Well, I've found a poet whose work confirms for me that I'm not wrong about what I think poetry is capable of being and doing. I've found a poet whose work I return to. That's cool. And it's about damn time.
One measure of poetic artistry is measure. When you encounter lines moving with a near-perfect cadence -- like Pound's -- you know what you know. Another measure of poetic artistry is image. When you encounter images that do the suggesting and most of the saying, instead of an ego blathering a dull monologue, you know you are in the presence of an actual poem.
If you are repulsed by stuff written without an aesthetic undercurrent vivifying the stanzas, then you are pleased by something written in such a way that mood, emotion, and sense of life are cast as a work of art.
I don't like hyperbole. But I suppose it's hard to remain completely sober and offhand when trying to describe a special thing. I am pleased to report that what I expect from a poem actually exists. That's a kind of confirmation.
Who am I to be saying all this stuff? Nobody, that's who. But maybe a few curious ones will follow the links below and be pleased by what they find there.
On Tuesday, I posted a link to four Gillian Prew poems. I'm posting it again, just because.
Gillian Prew at Bone Orchard Poetry
And here's the link to her website: