Friday, October 28, 2016

Hallowe'en Poetry!

Happy Hallowe'en!
Once again, the SFPA has posted their Hallowe'en reading, with audio files of poets reading their spooky poems.  Something to listen to while cuddled up to a black cat and listening to the ghost wind howl on a dark hallowe'en midnight!

"Smilin’ Jack". Image by Karen A. Romanko

Monday, October 24, 2016

I don't 'get' poetry readings--

Bethany Prosseda writes, "I don't 'get' poetry readings":

"...I think this generalization points to a shift that has occurred in poetry. It seems that at some point, poetry went underground. It went quietly and without a going away party. It forgot to send Christmas cards. So, it stands to reason that when poetry showed up again at its high school reunion twenty years later, no one recognized it anymore. Poetry spoke a different language, and no one at the reunion knew how to converse with it beyond the small talk anymore. But that’s not to say that poetry didn’t have friends because it did. It had underground friends that understood poetry and spoke its new, underground language.

Photo of Ray McNiece reading at Mahall's
photo by GL
"There’s nothing wrong with the new poetry. It’s just intimidating. This should be understandable. It’s only human to feel intimidated by something you don’t “get.” I wonder though, if that’s the approach that poetry really wants to take. But what do I know about poetry? Not much. All I know is that we’re living in a time of great accessibility. ...

"I’m not advocating for poetry to change. It doesn’t need botox or rhinoplasty. Poetry’s beautiful just the way it is. I guess all I’m trying to say is that, deep down, everyone likes getting invited to the party and being asked if they like Eric Dolphy."

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cities are built with language

There is a thread of the rustic in much poetry-- possibly in too much poetry. As Spinks calls it, poetry of "brooks, brambles, and fields."

photo of Coventry village at night
photo by GL
But not Cleveland poetry. Cleveland poetry tends more to be the poetry of the city, a poetry of cracked asphalt and battered garbage dumpsters and smoking a cigarette in the cold rain outside a bar in Ohio City, not rhapsodizing over a field of daisies.

Tom Chivers-- a London poet-- says
“The city resists nostalgic forms of poetry that have been handed down to us in various traditions. There is this energy and aggression and speed in a city that lends itself to poetry. We are surrounded by language, whether it’s place names, digital signs, advertising hoardings or the voices of market traders – it’s everywhere. Cities are built with language.”

--(and, on the subject of cities, check out the latest issue of The City Poetry.)

Friday, October 7, 2016

Poetry-- it's not a contest

Ohio Poetry Day is coming up, and I've been thinking a little about poetry contests.
Is poetry about competition?
Diane Kendig criticizes competitions, and I can see her point: really, poetry is not a contest.  "Winning" is not what poetry is about!
But I have contradictory feelings about this: I have to admit, I love contests. I have fun entering them, and I have fun watching contests. There's nothing more fun than watching a good poetry slam, and competition is absolutely essential to a slam-- that's what makes slam exciting; that's it's all about.
Or is it?
Isn't it really about a good poem? Isn't a good performance something worthwhile on its own; you don't have to "beat" somebody else to be admirable?


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