Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Poetry Needs Right Now Is More Nostalgia For Me

If you ever catch me making any of the following statements, you’ll know that I finally believe that the world of poetry has left me behind and that I’m content to live in the glow of nostalgia for my quickly vanishing self. At that point please remove me from the shelf and take me to the trash. But do it gently, for once upon a time I served you well.


Back in the [fill in date], poets were genuinely concerned about the world and actually had vision. These days it’s all a corrupt game and people only write poems for what it can get them.

You’re not really raising that issue again, are you? We resolved all that back in [fill in date].

These educational institutions are ruining poetry. Things were better when to get a real education in poetry you had to go to [fill in name of my now tremendously expensive city or neighborhood] and [perhaps one or two others in a grudging second or third place on the list].

Nobody in [fill in name of city or neighborhood where I don’t live] knows anything about poetry. I just don’t understand those people.

Unlike [so and so]’s trendy work of the moment, which [I am quickly dismissing on certain grounds while barely reading, if at all], the work of [so and so] manages to [really own][long elaboration of same grounds].

Poetry really started to decline when [people no longer saw the world or thought about poetry the way I did when I was their age].

All these recent self-serving theories have taken the attention away from poems themselves and what they can really do.

This kind of poem will never speak to the ordinary reader [which my poems do even though nobody much is reading them].

All these uptight self-serving little communities need to stop reading and promoting each other [and instead read and promote my work and my ideas or the work of the writers I prefer].

Things would be better if we could write poems that [returned to the values of another time and place, most likely the one when I first became excited about poetry or had some success or maybe the one I fantasize about having lived in].

Today’s poets would be more interesting if they [returned to the values of another time and place, most likely the one where I first became excited about poetry or had some success or maybe the one I fantasize about having lived in].

Poets need to stop pretending that new-fangled techniques will write poems for them and go back to the days [when writing a poem was like scrubbing a floor].

Poets are fucked up because they [don’t listen to me] and will be better off when they [stop writing and listen to me].


rodney k said...

Hi Mark,

Would love to see all these statements fitted into the dialog bubbles of the cartoon above. With brackets left in.

rodney k said...

O, and the TV should say "Shut up, fool" after every one. :)

Matt Walker said...

"Poems should be written for plumbers. If my plumber can't understand it, it's not real poetry.

Because my plumber is real.

Reality is plumbing."

I like this post a lot.

mongibeddu said...

Roit on! Forking brilliant.

mgushuedc said...

well done. And Savage Chickens rules.

Anonymous said...

Have to say, these are pretty great.

And don't think I'm being a blind hen in saying so.


Ryan said...

I just had this moment happen when I bought -- for $8 -- the first season of Miami Vice.

God, was it boring.

Sandra Simonds said...

Great post---- (but I did a better one a few years ago when blogs actually meant something!).

Stephanie said...

Youch, Sandra you just GOT me, but good.

Thanks for this, Mark. It's like a kind of neosporin for something that's been hurting me.

Michael Theune said...

Smart and funny, Mark--