Friday, June 15, 2012

Saturday Morning

In bed
With my iPad
Looking through
Just for you.

What is it
About poetry
That captivates me?
Its the power of
Words to mesmerize

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Liberating Poetry from Academia

I am currently reading a book written by poet Dana Gioia called: Can Poetry Matter? This is a book of essays on poetry and the book takes it's title from the headline essay. This essay caused furore in the US when it was first published in November, 1991. 

The premise that poetry had been captured by academia rang true with many people who felt that poetry belongs to all and did not want to see poetry go the way of prose criticism which disappeared up it's own academic orifice with barely a trace.

Here are some key phrases from the introduction to the 10th anniversary edition of the book (revised in 2002).

As their testimonies demonstrated, they cared passionately for the art but felt isolated and disenfranchised from the official academic culture of poetry. An outsider myself, who worked in an office during the day and wrote at night, I felt a deep kinship with their situation...Their comments provided the clear and candid insight on the place poetry still occupied in the lives of many Americans (pxii).
Can Poetry Matter? opened up the public conversation about American poetry to a large number of readers and writers who had previously felt excluded. For many, the book's impact was as much emotional as intellectual. It gave them the strength of their convictions.
 Literary culture is essentially a conversation. When a substantial number of new people enter the exchange- especially from segments of society not previously represented - they raise new questions that change the course of events. By critiquing the role of academic institutions in fostering poetry and insisting that contemporary poetry had a constituency outside the university, Can Poetry Matter? invited a number of new participants from all walks of life and of every literary opinion to join the conversation (pxiii).
Although the university writing programs critiqued in the book remain largely the same, they have lost their monopoly on contemporary poetry because the literary culture around them has experienced a vast renewal by reconnecting poetry with a broader audience (pxiv).
Poetry has become an increasingly public and performative art (pxiv).
This book is a must read especially for those in the blogging community who write and publish their own poetry. The web has released the poetic genie (muse) from the university bottle and he has no intention of going back anytime soon.

When I was an undergraduate studying the humanities I made a conscious decision not to do post graduate study in English Literature. At that stage I had already had poetry published and seen the post modern twaddle that was beginning to prevail in academia. The approach took the student away from reading books and understanding them, into dry and arid places filled with nonsense illustrated by the quotation below from the writings of Guattari:

We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of the ontological binarism we criticised previously.
In fact we can see nothing at all clearly from this passage. It is all illusory.

Instead of studying literature I went on to study management and business and in this way I came across Gioia who classes himself as a "business poet".

(He has a wonderful Standford podcast explaining how he is the only person who went to Stanford business school to learn how to become a poet!!)

Enough rabble rousing. I will now get back to the next essay and report back soon.



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