So after the cleaning out, I sat down and read Silliman's _Lit_ which I enjoyed a whole hell of a lot more after cleaning out the litter. (onto _Jones_ next. I only have two letters of the alphabet).
I mean doing something I don't like to do (or really want to do) helps me dig into things I do want (to do). teaching boring poetry (or reading boring poetry) makes me want to write interesting poetry. Not that the opposite isn't more true. A little of what I don't like/want to do goes a long way.
Today's carrot was _Lit_.
(not all carrots are equal)
For some reason I don't feel the lack of emotion so many of my instructors pegged as Langpo. I almost believed the "universal human values" bullshit line and rejected anything "the masses" would not understand. I come from a working class background (both of my parents did not finish high school) and often feel conflicted with my passion for knowledge. For a few years I tried to write poems I thought my family might halfway "get." I don't want to put on airs. Sometimes (or most of the time really) I feel very alienated from my relatives (not because I am a poor alienatied genius poet but because of my university education).
It just seems like when someone mentions the universal nature of such and such poetry it often means the message/meaning is reinforced by the dominant values of the culture. Not all dominant (or residual) values are worth their salt and I come to poetry for salt. For the great thaw.
I just received my issue of Fence magazine (spring/summer 2004) and Rebecca Wolff talks about how the Fence team responed after 9/11.
She writes, "And all I could think of to say was that I wanted more emotion in poetry. For crying out loud. Presuumably, that is all I've ever wanted."
I used to feel the same conflict, but now I don't understand. What is emotion? How do I put more of it into my poetry? How can I increase the chance of someone crying out loud after reading my poetry?
I feel a wide range of emotion after reading Rod Smith. I don't really feel sad though. Is that what poets mean when they say they want more emotion in poetry (sadness). Does emotion=sadness? How narrow.
I want a range of emotion (in life art etc.). I want a range of philosophy (thinking about thinking). It seems so narrow to define emotion as sadness.
Does Philip Levine write for working class people because he writes "about" the working class? I certainly do not usually enjoy reading poetry "about" teaching freshman composition.
If 100 people/poets read my books with intensity (I have no books yet, but maybe at some point) it seems much better than 30,000 non-poets who skim the work and call it good because I just won the Nobel prize.
But I would never want to be called a poet's poet. Please please not a poet's poet.