Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I guess what I was trying to say below is that there is very much an ethical component to the way we encounter poetry. And people who are otherwise very ethical are very quick to dismiss poems out of hand. Poets reading to groups of non-poets (i.e. in public) are almost always set up for failure before they begin. Because listeners aren't engaging and, for the most part, they aren't trying to engage. I mean who are these hundreds and hundreds of people who after the swearing in of the first black president of the United States had nothing better to do but post a video of Elizabeth Alexander on You Tube, then dump on it? 

There were interesting elements in the inaugural poem and I think most people didn't give it the time of day, as most people don't give poetry the time of day. That's wrong. 

In the relationship between poet and reader there is a onus on the reader as well as the poet. Both have gotten a little slack these days. But the work you have to put in to be able to dismiss a poem completely is immense. It can't be done overnight.

1 comment:

  1. I think back on her poem and I swear I stopped paying attention the moment I realized rhyming wouldn't be involved. You make a valid point, though. In general, I think poetry deserves a little more credit/thought than people tend to give it. After all, I didn't like Britney Spears' Womanizer the first time I heard it, either. And look at me now :)