15 sept. 2005

The poetry we have is the poetry we deserve. It fulfills the functions we demand of it. It would not do a better job of meeting these needs and social functions if it were somehow "better."

Or is it that what we ask it to do makes it worse, acting a corrupting influence? We use it to credential teachers of writing, for example. For social intercourse and mutual gratification between friends. It is the basis of many narcissistic friendships. (I hope I don't have to explain that one.) It bears all sorts of ideological alibis.

I've always maintained (actually I haven't: I came up with this idea today) that you can't get rid of these secondary functions and just have a poetry free of all these burdens placed on it. The poetry that resulted would not only not be "better," but it simply wouldn't exist. You can't just have lipstick without lips.

5 comentarios:

Thomas Basbøll dijo...

Poetry is lipstick on the lips of a secondary functionary?

Nick dijo...

ah, the fantasy of pure poetry finally dispelled!
you can't have lips without an ass....

Jonathan dijo...

Maybe a bad metaphor on my part. It just sort of popped into my head and I didn't want to turn it away.

Thomas Basbøll dijo...

In any case, I'm not sure we (the species) deserve some of the very fine poetry we get. It is a gift to the unworthy. That is because it does try to extricate itself from all the things that would make it worse, though not, of course, ever perfectly or purely. It can be used to get a job, I guess, but for that it doesn't need fleshy parts, just cosmetics. In that sense of "poetry" (or for that aspect of poetry) I suppose the metaphor works. I just wanted to give a bit more aesthetic dignity to lips...and poetry.

Tom Beckett dijo...

I've frequently likened the risk of a poem to an unsolicited kiss.

Jonathan's lipstick comment brings home the secondary nature of a so-called gloss.

rlwptt