(this post is all over the place)
um... i've been noticing for awhile now that poets (in general) don't really seem to like each other much... or even try to appreciate each others work... unless its work that is very close to their own work... and i'm talking about most poet blogs that are being maintained now, not poets of the past... although maybe it does have something to do with The Past, an inherited lineage of sorts... learned bias and aggression and intolerance or some sort of love affair with the notion of being a Genius... but my concern over this is basically: if no one really likes each others work... and everyone thinks everyone else's work falls short... and no one is really all that willing to appreciate the work of poets who aren't members of their own small club of aesthetic or conceptual concern... then... is it even really possible to be good at poetry? or do we all just make work for a very small segment of the population... for people who agree with us and like the things we like?
(if that's the case, i'm cool with it. it'd actually be a relief to have this confirmed so let me know.)
i don't know. i've just been noticing how catty and loud-mouthed poets seem to get about other people's work just because it gets a bit of attention. it's jealousy, yes, but it's odd to me that a community would attack itself over every single little difference so LOUDLY, so PUBLICLY... and maybe that's why poetry has fallen to such a state of disfavor among the general populace???
i think poetry is very important but a lot of the conversations that exist on the interwebs are LOADED with sarcasm and anger and animosity... i mean, really, to a very uncalled for degree. it makes having a sense of community on a larger scale (outside your own club) kinda impossible... i know it's definitely been a turn off to me and i definitely don't feel comfortable involving myself or asking questions in most online poetry discussions or blogs... and everyone is saying "no! I'M right!" and i didn't think that one could really get away with that attitude when it comes to art. aren't we are still learning? isn't this supposed to be more about questions than answers? isn't there supposed to be at least the common appreciation for exploration? for wrestling? for investigating? for risking getting it "wrong"? maybe i'm naive or i misunderstood the theory i read but i thought we were beyond the ARTIST IS GENIUS, ARTIST IS GOD thing. and i may have naively hoped that poetry (all art forms really) was about a little bit more than soap box antics and spewing hateful things at one another and was a tad more excited by variety than what i'm seeing.
if you guys follow poetry blogs have you noticed this too? are poetry classes like this? is it just the way the poetry world works?
i mean, there are definitely times when anger is warranted. there are the big issues of racism and classism and sexism and i'm all for a strong response to those things. i think it's heroic to stand up for certain virtues and that ethics should be a part of art... but intellect and creativity and ETHICS are NOT prized when there is a total reversion to name-calling and foot stomping and railing against other people's practices or modes of making. there's a lot of the i'm-smarter-than-you attitude floating around and it shuts the door on conversation and the exchange of ideas. in fact, it actually encourages thoughtlessness. and if someone fancies themself a writer than shouldn't they be able to express themselves with words in a more eloquent, intelligent, thoughtful way then dropping the word "douchbag" on people? what's up with all the personal attack? that is not "critique". if someone's skillz are lacking, that's one thing. but unleashing a barrage of complaints about them as a person or the magazine who published them and yadda yadda yadda is not only unnecessary and mean, but completely irrelevant.
i'm not saying that the poetry community can't be rowdy (passion is good), but it seems inclusive (on blogs anyway) of very malicious behavior and i don't see how that helps anybody. has anyone else noticed this? or am i frequenting the wrong blogs? or am i just overly sensitive?
in the visual art community there is an appreciation for the creative impulse, no matter what a person's work looks like, because, in this country, art is pretty much not appreciated by the general public. so... we're at least happy that people are interested and trying to learn and making exploration a part of their day. attacking them for being at-the-beginning does nothing to make art a bigger part of the dominant community. people need support at whatever level they are at and their interest in art should be encouraged. everyone is allowed to stumble and make mistakes and change their minds. if a person's work has failed and they ask for a critique, be honest. but why attack them personally? and why not offer some suggestions of how to make the work better? just pointing out what's wrong does not mean you've helped them. pointing out the "wrong" is not the same thing as pointing out the "right".
these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.
thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.
my artist website is here.
my artist website is here.