10 jul. 2005

It is precisely because I haven't considered myself a "career poet" until fairly recently that I am putting more attention right now into "career building and maintenance." I have published exactly 4 poems in the last twenty years--not counting a few internet things here and there--beginning in 2004. I have participated in maybe 3 poetry readings after my college days. I don't have a book of poetry or even a chapbook. This Spring and summer I launched a concerted effort to publish more poetry and be considered a real poet. I have had a few acceptances in magazines I like, along with the inevitable rejections. I am grateful to those who have rejected my poems but offered words of encouragement along with the rejections; also to those who have accepted work. It still feels weird to me to call myself a poet. I don't like all that career and ego baggage that goes along with it, but on the other hand I like to feel like a member of the guild rather than someone "hanging around but not attending a school" or "almost being friends with someone."

To recognize myself as a member of a "school" is simply to point out that, however unique I am as a poet, my work is written in a context that includes many other poets who, to any objective observer, might seem somewhat similar to me. I don't like making a spurious claims to individuality. What individuality I do have will emerge even in my most derivative work. I don't need to force the issue.

4 comentarios:

Nick Piombino dijo...

I was worried when I posted my late night response
to your stimulating post on poetry and thinking
that by concern with poetry career you might
have thought I meant by this a poet's concern
with getting their work published. Curiously,
I don't any longer identify the two activities-
that is, a poet's concern with career and a poet's
determination to get their work pubished.
On the contrary. I notice sometimes that
I really enjoy a poet's early work and then
just don't get their subsequent work. This has
happened so frequently that I now I often have the
feeling that with some poets the obvious motivation that
they must "make hay while the sun shines"
actually gets in the way of evidencing
the very crucial kind of unique poetic
thinking you are talking about. This takes time and inordinate amonts of patience. So, frequently this leads to poets imitating themselves over and over- either
as a result of feeling an allegience to a school-
or the need to churn out the work. This activity
involves anything but the kind of thinking you
were speaking of so eloquently in your recent post. What I meant by my comment that this constant trumpeting of
favorites results from "no one listening to poetry"
was that this trumpeting so quickly has the sound of
any kind of advertising that the enthusiasm being
expressed comes through but the reason for the
strong conviction in the qualities of someone's poetry /thinking can get lost as a result. As for your thought about
"spurous claims to individuality"- the appeal of
fine blogging- particulary blogging like yours, for example,
consists of the way it contrasts with both the automaticity and
the posturing of so much published writing including poetry,
fiction, journalism and literary criticism. I reached a point of such intense dislike of so much published work that my only choice- it seemed to me- was to focus on this issue in my own poetry-what I prefer to call *theoretical objects* because I thought about this so much of the time a lot of my published work reflects this, as obviously
does not a little bit of my blogging. The desire for literary
distinction- or the even more basic desire to be heard
above the din motivates 99 percent of what is published.
The trick is to be heard below the din. That is the secret of blogging's astounding success. We blog poets should take a lesson from this. That said, I have to mention that I strongly expect that your manuscript *Minor Poets of the New York School* will be very well received when it does see the light of day because it deals so excellently with so many of the issues I am trying to elicit here- but with greater wit and charm I might add!

Jonathan dijo...

___

I like that phrase of being heard "below the din." Part of what I was saying is that I also enjoy being heard as part of the din as well--the normal practice of publishing some poems in a magazine along with other equally deserving poets. I don't especially mind that a poem from The Tiny might have been published just as easily in can we have our ball back.

I also wanted to make a fairly basic point, which is that someone who already has an author page at the EPC has a certain perspective of being able to sit back and take a different, more reflective and possibly wiser attitude toward "career" than someone who doesn't have much of a "career" as a poet yet. The writing I do on the blog certainly is significant to me as well. Maybe it will end up being more significant than any book of poetry I might publish. Thanks for the comment on MPOTNYS. It is much appreciated.

Nick Piombino dijo...

Literary Flaneurs on the Virtual Arcades

I include publishing in small press
lit mags in my notion of "below the din."
What I had in mind by that phrase has to do with the
time it takes for the kind of thinking
you were talking about to be
recognized and "understood"
in the-still relatively small- larger
literary community
and the willingness- as is obviously true
in your case- to accept the time it takes
for that to happen.

In every case, beneath the frequently improvised
scaffolding that comprises the structure of
a literary school will be found an intricate
network of literary relationships; literary schools
map critical highways, but the real relationships
constitute the everyday literary sidewalks, roads
and streets that access and make possible the actual exchange of contemporay poetic thinking that comprises the true literary "marketplace." These include the flaneurs who
have read and thought and said much but
whose thinking is not yet available on the official
circuits.
Through blogging, as in the Marrakech marketplace,
now it is possible to put out your little carpet or shack and
immediately have some of your ideas and experiences be made available in the
literary *medina*. Thus valuable circuits are
flourishing that never before could have been
imagined, let alone exist
and these circuits leave tracks for
others to follow. As result, the map is
rapidly transforming- and virtual
schools are emerging as we speak.
Names are proferred- the New Brutalism, The New
Sincerity, the Prophetic School. But faces are already
coming to be recognized on these
streets well before they have names.
By the time communities are recognizable
as "schools"
they will have long been familiar to the
denizens of those parts. Lots of people have
noticed lots of things, frequently for a very
long while, before they say much about them
let alone give them names. It is very important
to be wary of those who would exclude and
label- sometimes such exclusionary gestures
befog the actual situation; that's what I was
getting at in talking about encouraging readers
to recognize their own thinking and judgements.
Schools are shortcuts; to fathom these passages
and arcades best to do the walking- and evaluating-
for oneself.

Jonathan dijo...

___

Well said. I would hope that most would be astute enough to realize that most of these "schools" are simply provisional markers expressing one's mood for a day or two. The school with more than one member is rare. I can start my Thelonious Monk School of Poetry today without any risk that anyone will take it as some sort of definitive statement of principles. You might return to the blog tomorrow and find no trace of Monk at all.