Can poetry matter?
November 19, 2002 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Can Poetry Matter? Written 11 years ago but still relevant today. Will the spectacular $100 million gift to Poetry Magazine (see below) make a difference? Or will the spark be ignited as poetic forms muscle their way in and around other mediums, as with Def Jam Poetry which will now looks like will have another season on HBO, and has now opened on Broadway; “singing poets” such as Floetry (soon to play live at SOB in NYC), Abiyah , and revivals of classic masters The Last Poets. Purists may cringe.
posted by Voyageman (10 comments total)
PS The best I could find for poetry lovers of any kind (slow loading though worth a wait).
posted by Voyageman at 9:33 AM on November 19, 2002

You may want to scroll down the page just a smidge
posted by zeoslap at 9:36 AM on November 19, 2002

I should just shut up, I see it's not the same, and you even link to it... sigh... <beats self with reeds>
posted by zeoslap at 9:38 AM on November 19, 2002

I know this is a little off topic, but I just finished reading Pale Fire by Nabakov (same author as Lolita) and it contains with in it one of the best poems I've ever read, as well as a brilliant concept for a novel, perfectly excecuted.
posted by atom128 at 10:01 AM on November 19, 2002

Two good counters to the "death of poetry" thing are Halls', ''Death to the Death of Poetry" and a Hans-Georg Gadamers', 'On Education, Poetry, and History'.

"Such a transferring of a completely sensuous image into its spiritual meaning allows everything to become somewhat overly explicit. Interpretive words should, however, disappear after they have evoked what they mean. If one reads the poem again, then one should not remember what has been said about it, but rather one should have the impression: there it stands."


The Nuyorican school and the off-shoots can only go so far. It seems to me mere acting/presentation. One could argue that the synthesis of the poets "being/art/meaning" is being conveyed but this is what poetry does in and of itself, conveys thought. I believe the crux is that poetry and its "soul" is around us and it is up to us to somehow capture it. I mean, how can something die or wane, when it is the subject matter itself . Perhaps this a symptom to the post- modern age but I don't think so.

One of the little clavs is home sick today. I'm going about the day, watching the daily newshorror show, somemefi, rummaging through the shed. Sure, there is poem in there somewhere but would it be good or meaningful other then to myself? What i find poetic was when i had Y2karls great post on Davidson on the screen. Little Clav comes in and sees the pict of Davidson from Karls post and said "sweaty-toothed madman?" (she watched 'Dead Poets Society" the other night) that made me laugh.
Memorizing/performing, analysis, even composition of poetry is not the only thing. It is the impression it leaves us and how we identify and somehow incorporate that into our lives.
posted by clavdivs at 10:19 AM on November 19, 2002

there are many things in life I don't get, and one of them is poetry
posted by evening at 10:44 AM on November 19, 2002

And not to mention the best-selling book based on the HBO special based on the Broadway performance (or vice versa).

Atria senior editor Malaika Adero snapped up an anthology based on "Def Poetry Jam," a poetry performance event that opened to strong notices on Broadway this week after a launch in San Francisco and a highly rated appearance on HBO.

The book is edited by Danny Simmons after a concept by Russell Simmons and Stan Lathan, and will contain material featured in the show, including the work of a number of performance poets and such already published literary voices as Jessica Care Moore, Saul Williams, Sekou Sundiata, Suheir Hammad and Steve Colman.The anthology will appear in hardcover next October.

(from Publisher's Weekly Rights Alert newsletter).
posted by rodz at 11:33 AM on November 19, 2002

Purists inhibit progress.
posted by botono9 at 8:28 AM on November 20, 2002

and progress, concerning this issue, is...
posted by clavdivs at 8:37 AM on November 20, 2002

Voyageman, you might want to rethink your link to Poetry.Com (which is in no way associated with Poetry Magazine. Poetry.Com is run by the International Library of Poetry (one of its many names) which was criticized in 1998 on 60 Minutes (you can read a partial transcript of the show here) and in Consumer Reports Magazine. (Dave Barry also wrote a scathing column about this organization in November of 1994.)

Nope, not the same place at all!
posted by Modgoddess at 1:46 PM on November 20, 2002

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