I was just visiting this Ron Silliman weblog that all of you talk about so frequently. It was interesting. It is evident he loves poetry. He is looking for writers and inspiration daily. That is great. It is also kind of a 'who is on my list' sort of thing. "This is what I think about Breathing Fire 2!" And then going in, and ripping on poets to say: 'this one will be good if they "loosen up here" or that will be "good in 10 years." ' I find that talk really unappealing. This idea of what is 'good' talk is rooted in personal taste. I feel that by placing categories on poets, or dealing with artists as 'good' or 'bad' pushes artists away from true innovation, or better put, reality.*
I don't know. These days I'll read anything. It's not what is published in magazines though. I have been digging hand-written-notes. I like things that are heartfelt and really, really simple. Just phrases put together. There is no messing. Just a truth. The writer's heartbeat on my retina. That's what I like. I respect very much the writers on Ron's site, as well as Ron, himself. It is wonderful to have so many writers to read there.
I feel so outside of this though. So outside, it's ridiculous. It's like poetry is about notches in a bedpost, rather than words anymore. I was reading on K. Silem Mohammad's Limetree, that he has been checking out poetry.com, and some guy is reviewing these pieces that are "bad." He tears them a new asshole, or whatever. (I am seriously paraphrasing here) Silem then talks about how he digs some of these poems that are not considered "poetry." 'That's a Sapphic fragment if I ever read one,' he says shit like that.
I dig that. I dig that he digs these poems. The things is, I really dig those poems. They are so much more tangible to me. They feel more like reality to me. I want to write like that. This is what I feel. To create characters who moan and groan in monosylablles. How fun! None of this really big talk or disjointed texts. That is what I like. I like it like a romance novel. I like it dripping with sentimentality. I like it touching the experimental. I like it humping the fantastical. This is the poetry I like. My taste. That doesn't mean I don't like poets like Ron Silliman or poets from this school or that school. I like them very much. I love their moving hearts. I love their intelligence. I love their effort to be out in the world. I also like poems that are muddy. I like it in the dirt.
I like characters in poetry. That doesn't mean I like to read narrative poetry or whateever they are calling it now. I like it to be true. I just like it to be true. The heartspeak. The giant thump. That is all. I think HEARTSPEAK needs to be taught in every school in America. I think it needs to be a global revolution. Just listen. Just go when you're ready. This is HEARTSPEAK.**
I don't think much of craft. I don't think much of schooling. Not in the poetry I like now. I threw it all away. I just dumped it on a lawn in Lone Pine, Egypt. The crows came for the little bits. They visit me on occasion. They sing it back to me in a new song. That's the way it throws down for me.
I don't like that Ron is judging poets as if he knows the future, as if he is God. You do not know. I do not know either. That is reality. I would rather you talk about what inspires you. I would rather it be personal to what you like. But the whole, this person will be a great poet in 10 years. This is not smart tennis. This is not reality. This is personal taste.
I do not know any of the poets in Breathing Fire 2, except Shane Book. He is a wonderful person. I like his intelligence and his poetry very much. Just magical, really. I am sure the others are as well, in their own way. I just wanted to put it out there to the world. I wanted to let you know here. Dirty is okay too. HEARTSPEAK is a nice path to fiddle. I will read, on occasion, these very intellectual pieces, even from a friend like Shane - I will respect this circle. These thoughts. These words. They are beautiful. I just wonder if there is anyone pushing the otherside of poetry. The one without fanfare. The romantic sparse. This golden hearse. These walking totems.
I don't want anyone to think I don't respect and like poetry that is not simple andd sparse. I respeect it all. I think people write in the modes they feel most comfortable. Whatever this might be for you, go and do it. I am not being on one side or the other. I just wanted to voice how I felt about Ron's blog on Breathing Fire 2. I just wanted to let the few poeple who read my blog to know that there is no good or bad. That because you write in the forms or styles that are going to be accepted in magazines, or thought of as a great poet by someone else, does not mean anything in comparison to the way you feel about the poems you have written in magazines, and how willing you aare to place public opinion aside and rely on your heart to acknowledge what you have created.
There is no good or bad, my friends. There is none of that. It's just creating. It's having fun. It's finding the language that is right for you. It's being clear about what you like - and how that is not a qualifier for what is good or bad - simply a marker for the moment you are in.*
Take or leave what I have to say. I had to say it though.
* I have marked SHORTSPEAK in purple for those who dig it shorter.
** I have marked HEARTSPEAK in red because I like that color.