Archive for May, 2010

May 27

Desperate for poetry

The world seems desperate for a new poetry. A fad new to me is Flarf poetry. Just yesterday it was brought to my attention by a fellow writer who read an article in The New Yorker about it. Flarf is similar to found poetry, but instead of using the page to find words, one uses Google. Just the word, flarf sounds too close to barf, and fluff, and fart for me to feel comfortable in relation to poetry. Oh, I love a good bodily function as much as the next guy, and I’ve done workshops using what I call clip-poetry, where we cut words from magazines and craft a poem by pasting them onto a page. These are legitimate ways to find inspiration and fun and to build poems. And I immensely adore Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, but didn’t someone say that all fun and games makes Jack a dull boy. When it comes to poetry, I don’t always want a cartoon, or the chipmunks singing, or improv, or a reality show. Sometimes I crave Andrea Bocelli or Hamlet with Kenneth Branagh brilliantly in the lead. You see, well written-on-the-page poetry can be complex and beautiful and crafted as fine wine is aged or a good movie built using great actors, an interesting layered story line, stunning costumes, dialogue, set, etc. Enough said. The world is desperate for easily accessible everything. Simple reality shows, U-Tube, and simple fun, loving sitcoms. We all want and need that at times. But we need the other stuff too. We need the basic written, well-crafted poem. In the same way we try to train our college students to be better thinkers and close, discerning readers, we need to be desperate to extend that lesson to everyone, at every age, even to ourselves and our kids. That’s the stuff that makes our brain bigger.