17 may. 2011

I Get Email


I'm YYY. I was just wandering [sic] what your stance was on poetry. What
do you think of it, what do you think it's for? Society, expression,
just to make a point or to fill a void?

I guess this is just a spambot (or whatever you call them), and not a sincere question. For me, poetry is a kind of defense against mediocrity and stupidity. It's a defense against people or machines who send out emails like that. If a poem of mine could silently murder a spambot like that, I would be quite happy (assuming that a real person did not write that email to me). A poem can do very little against a dictator or an earthquake, but it can raise the level of human intelligence. Nobody really knows what poetry is for, but I know that it heightens one's consciousness of the sense of wonder of being alive at all. Perhaps this feeling is behind my contempt for those who deliberately debase the art form. If poetry is a defense against mediocrity, then mediocre poetry at best is a place-holder, something to occupy the place until the real thing comes along, and at worst a direct affront.