More Notes on Poetry

"I think we live so totally in an acculturated time that the reason why we're all here that care and write is to put an end to that whole thing. Put an end to nation, put an end to culture, put an end to divisions of all sorts. And to do this you have to put establishment out of business. ... The radical of action lies in finding out how organized things are genuine, are initial ... [that the Imago Mundi] is initial in any of us. We have our picture of the world and that's the creation." - Charles Olson at Berkeley, 1965, quoted by Jerome Rothenberg in an essay not to be missed: “Je Est Un Autre”: Ethnopoetics & The Poet As Other

I have been teaching poetry (the craft, the literature) for a decade now, and it often turns out that students want to know what poetry is. Not what it is building down there, or who has the most, or which is the greatest, but actually what it consists of. One of the things I think poetry is, I say, is a set of strategies. These strategies make art happen in the plastic of language. They deliver ideas that aren't easily articulated in prose. They administer emotional cocktails. They help you hurt your reader in just the way he or she is looking for. They complicate our systems of representation so that when we speak our speech is as fucked up as our lived experience deserves... If you cannot find what you are longing to read, then you have stumbled upon an excellent opportunity! Now you may write what you are longing to read...  - Danielle Pafunda, in one of three interviews in an ongoing series on the State of American Poetry at the Huffington Post. READ THEM ALL.


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