I’ve Doberman (one of you Literators) to thank for the sudden outburst in poetics. Forgive me if I don’t try and publish poetry these days–the time involved pays significantly less than stories, articles and freelance editing. I like to think there’s value in the mere act of crafting poems. And occasionally sharing them.
Anyways, awhile ago I wrote a post challenging all of you to communicate through letters rather than email. Doberman and LoganK (among others) took me up on the dare. Not only is it nice to swell the ranks of my pen pals, I came home from vacation and found a package on my doorstep. It was from Copper Canyon Press.
“Babe?” I called. “Did I submit something to Copper Canyon in the last five months?”
“Dunno,” Kiddo said. “Don’t think so, why?”
“Because it looks like they sent me contributor’s copies.”
They hadn’t and though that would have been really cool, what I got was cooler. Doberman had sent me copies of David Lee’s The Porcine Canticles and C.D. Wright’s Cooling Time. I shot through both in the span of a couple of days and then reread large portions, often aloud to many of my friends. On the way home from watching Dark Knight Rises in iMax, I read several canticles aloud to a regular joe and Mark. We laughed till we (or at least I) was hoarse. The back cover of Lee’s book quotes a critic who said, “He makes us laugh and feel good laughing.” That’s my experience with the pork poet.
The end, however, moved me to tears. I found myself sobbing at his Epilogue, at the idea of finding significance in the simple things the Almighty made us to do and be. It transitioned nicely into what I can only call a guided meditation on poetry. Wright’s Cooling Time took advantage of the Texan amnesty period for any mad person and slaughtered convention and corporation at will. She said things in that book that I’ll be chewing on, cudd-like for years.
Which brought me back into Milton. I think, once again, I put undo pressure on myself to critique the Harvard Classics or analyze the Harvard Classics rather than read the Harvard Classics. I’m back to enjoying them–and poetry–and I hope the whole experience yields fruit for future generations.
Or as Wright might say:
Another strategy is to create new structures that further the art (for its own sake). Create a language the unborn might be unashamed to speak.
Go and do likewise.
PS> Don’t forget Friday is free day!