let the poets gamble.


The next few lines from Bukowski’s poem assault continue as follows:

here they don’t assassinate the poets
they don’t even notice the poets

Bukowski’s words are certainly one of my favorite ‘finger pointings’ of all time- an open challenge to both the reading and writing audience- whilst at the same time being perfectly blended with a sort of beautiful and quietly fearful warning that the age of the blindly romantic rockstar- the feral idealist- the inspiring devout- the poet- was dead and perhaps across more borders than the typewritten page. Tangled among that fear is the larger idea that ripples away from a seemingly pointed center- the idea that society continues on without its romantics and perhaps the most disturbing insight of them all- society doesn’t really even seem to notice- let alone have the emotional necessity to respond. Some might postulate this leaves behind a generation of lost cause- obsessed with the self and only inward seeing- others would argue that this generation is fighting more scattered wars than ever for some broad cause labeled ‘progress’ though without much precision or any real forward motion. Oh- the compatriots of smirk and wink.

Obviously this is something that could be debated in circles and then right into the ground- but bares a sudden relevance when held up against a recent post from @theliteraryman (http://literaryman.com/2013/12/20/how-to-make-a-poetry-interview-go-viral/) where the author asks ‘What would you ask a poet to strike up some kind of controversy?’ in a sort of crowd sourced calling for some really solid interview questions.

I missed the deadline to respond- but had a great appreciation for the question- and thought I would do so (tardiness be damned) in an open format- mostly to capture my thoughts on the matter, as I too, share chinaski’s fear that our most public inspiration is running a vanilla tap and that the masses that are drinking from it are now slow drunk with a sterile mediocrity packaged in the warmth of accessible self promotion. Oh yes, darling- we’re on to you.

I suppose what I’m saying is that before we can ask ‘what will make a poet go viral’ we need to ask ourselves if there is an existing environment or audience for which this sort of lost profit can compete with miley and kim and if our media is up to the task. If the answer is no- then perhaps our cause and measure should be to create such an environment or platform.

But since we’re not revolutionists and I’ve got errands to run; let’s assume this climate exists or could again at some point.

So- here are my questions to spark some debate: for the poet:

Why have you not already started some debate already?
Have the poets written off the majority?
Do the poets have a responsibility to the people or to themselves?
Is writing a choice or a craft?
What is the message here?
Whose side are you on, anyway?

It’s easy to sit on the other side of the screen and cast stones having done nothing myself- so I would like to clarify that that is not my intent- I also have no knowledge of who was presented to be interviewed or what their revolutionary capacities are. And while I hardly call myself a writer- I’m merely suggesting that perhaps the next time we all go to bare at some machine- specifically those that have been handed or carry the weighty title of ‘poet’ we should have a few broader questions in mind that might directly influence our production.

Is this true?
Is this helping?
Am I giving away something of value?
Do I stand to lose something?
What is the message here?
Whose side am I on, anyway?

I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts- in whatever form they might become.

*this post is not connected to @theliteraryman and was not submitted for their approval.


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