Monday, May 18, 2009

Why Blog? Why Me?

Ever since I jumped in and said, "I’ll blog," I’ve been asking myself why I did that? It’s not readily apparent because I’m not burning up with things to say, and I’m only peripherally affiliated with the community that reads this blog. But digging deeper to explore this issue within myself, I’ve discovered personal reasons for blogging that will certainly inform future posts. That is why I’ve decided to begin by explaining where I’m coming from.

I’ll start with the negatives, what this is NOT about for me. As I said, no burning things that I need to say. I already know what I think and feel about poetry, and I’m comfortable with that. Also, as I said, I don’t feel much sense of connection with this part of the poetry community. That, of course, has been my choice. I could go to far more readings and events than I do if that’s what I wanted. It’s not. I probably won’t have much to say about local events simply because I don’t go to many.

I’m going to digress for a paragraph or two to say something about the Cleveland poetry community, if we can even call it that. I belong to a group of poets that meets through CWRU Continuing Education. At any given time, we are a group of about 20 poets meeting weekly. In the many years that this group has existed, it has probably involved hundreds of local poets, many of whom come to monthly Sunday gatherings long after they’ve stopped coming to the weekly group. I’m going to guess that none of these hundreds of people read this blog. Not one. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.)

I mention this as a small example of what I see as the broader nature of the "Cleveland poetry community." There really are multiple poetry communities that may or may not intersect at various points and may or may not have a few common interests. One of the things that I might hope for this little space is that it could become a place of intersection. (As the perpetual schoolchild I am, I’m visualizing Venn diagrams.) If local poets who are unfamiliar with each other’s works begin to interact here, that might be a way to feed our creative processes. And that, selfishly, is the primary reason why I’ve agreed to blog. I’m hoping that fresh interactions will stoke my creative fires and bring me pleasures.

There was once a discussion here about obligation to community. Personally, I don’t feel any, and I don’t feel any embarrassment about the lack. As I said, I can really only identify multiple smaller communities to begin with, and in any event, I believe those communities exist to serve my needs, not visa versa. I would not blog here if I wasn’t personally benefitting from it. If my participation also benefits others, that’s a nice side benefit, but not my purpose or intent, and surely not my duty.

So what I’m hoping for here are interactions that will stimulate me. Let me stress INTERACTIONS. I don’t need to hear my own voice. I can do that without blogging.

I’m thinking right now about 2 possible ways to blog that might lead to interaction. First, I’d enjoy something creative. Maybe writing a poem and asking for poetic responses to it, or writing a poem jointly by, perhaps, throwing out a line or two and asking for additions. Second, I have opinions and beliefs that will undoubtedly provoke discussion -- like the myths that poetry should always be read aloud, that poets need an audience, that poetry should be accessible. I’ll confess upfront, and perhaps this is my personal failing, I don’t like most poetry. It bores me – other than the occasional gem. I know I’m not the first poet to express negative feelings about poetry.

So I’ll be proceeding from here, on an irregular basis, as life and time allow. I welcome any ideas anyone has about ways to foster interactions, please keeping in mind that my ultimate purpose is to provide creative stimulation and pleasure for myself.

Oh – and I realize that I’ve got my head so far up my ass I could perform a colonoscopy on myself. I promise not to do this in future posts. I don’t want my polyps to gross you all out.


Theresa Göttl Brightman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John B. Burroughs said...

I enjoyed reading this! It's nice to "meet" you. I like your honesty and fresh perpective, and look forward to reading more.

Theresa Göttl Brightman said...

I, too, often think of various social circles and communities as Venn diagrams (I tend to be a rather visual person).

And the goal of interaction between the various factions/circles/what-have-you that exist within the "Cleveland Poetry Community" (which, yes, I do believe it can be called that, since that came into question) is one that I think many poets in the area would like to see accomplished.

Integration and commingling.

I've found, in traveling to different readings throughout the state, that communities of poets tend to isolate themselves a bit, and as a result, the work tends to become a bit homogenous in such an isolated community. Cleveland poets have quite a bit more interaction between the various circles here, but again, still have a tendency to isolate themselves. Such interaction as you're speaking of between and among different circles would benefit all of us (whether your intentions be selfish or not).

Pressin On said...

without a doubt this particular community is one that has access to a computer, and has email addresses. posting a call for poems online means folks offline wont hear the call. i used to post paper flyers! how analog!

but as far as community, it does exist. we are bound by common desires, folk heroes like Daniel Thompson--i know people who never saw the man read but have grown into fans!

and venues also bind us. in three yrs how many poets have read at the Lit Cafe? in what is it? 20 yrs--how many have read at Mac's Backs?

while not all venues draw flies in from as varied necks of our wood, many do.
we our bound by web sites and magazines. we are bound by having chosen to live and write in Cleve.
new voices spring, old ones echo or die down.
all are welcome, tho not all want to be a part of the whole scheme of things. there are groups of poets who meet monthly, and have little interest in else.
we could make them a part of the community by posting some blurb about "this group" "meets here" "this often" to "write this kind of poetry". they commemorate their meetings with "this annual publication". "the members have gone from this number, to this number" thru the yrs, or whatever.
theres one idea for postings.

Shelley Chernin said...

What a wonderful idea! Thank you. I'll gather some information about the history of my group and post it. I'd love to include posts about the public workshops, too. Those were very helpful for me when I was starting out, and I still enjoy them occasionally.

Poetic Genesis said...

Nice to meet you Shelley! I remember running in a circle...when the Humidor was in full effect (as well as a few other spots down the way), but have since avoided circles. Decided they make me claustrophobic in nature...


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau