Friday, June 11, 2004

The blog is back . . .

Thank you, Nate, for your kind words about my poems. I haven't seen Chicago Poetry Review yet, but that' because everyone else seems to get journals before I do.

I guess I would never say craft could defend idiotic content, but there's a lot of subject matter and certain, loaded "played-out" words that given the right poem and enough work could fly, even though initially most people would say "You couldn't make a good poem out of that." Like this prisoner abuse stuff. Or that whole Y2K scare (remember that?). Given the right stuff you could write a good poem about it. Although this is not the best exmple, the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial is a pretty daunting place to write about, who, even if they were in Vietnam, could make successful poem out of such a gut-wrenchingly emotional place? And yet someone did: Komunyakaa's "Facing It."

Chad, it seems that part of what you're responding to when you say that writing poetry doesn't make you feel like you've drawn a line in the sand, is that Fulton quote. When I first heard it, I also balked at it and said, "That's not what I'm doing" and felt that she misused the word . . . I don't quite understand it either, but one thing I know she meant is that the writing of poetry involves intentionally putting some things in and leaving other things out, while unknowingly including some things and leaving other out without meaning to. I think that's what she meant: poetry is political because of the decisions the poet makes causes the poem to be a locus of political action since a poem's making, the logic goes, is an act of inclusion and exclusion, whether intentional or not.

Art does complicate things. And I guess craft isn't all redemptive, but there are moments when I read some poems that I think, "Wow, the subject isn't worth my time, but the way it's done knocked my socks off."


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