Friday, January 27

Modern poetry makes me bite off all my fingernails.

Did you know I still have braces on my teeth? Just the top set, now--it was because I had to have some slow-healing surgery junk going on.

The point of that personal fun fact is that it leads to a generalizable fun fact: having braces and biting your nails requires a certain amount of genius.

Genius--or desperation.

Several times today I had an overwhelming urge to give an animal shriek and bash my head on the wall. And then there was the time I considered overdosing on caffeine merely so that I could speed-read my way into an early grave. But Death did not stop for me.

So many people love Whitman and Dickinson but for the life of me I can't understand why. The imagery is beautiful--until you look at what it means. The punctuation is novel and unconventional--until you get tired of it having to read so many other poets who thought they, too, were being unconventional. The emotions and urges take you by surprise until you read more than five lines and discover the sick truth of it all.

Certainly, a few isolated lines have, if isolated and blindfolded, a certain beauty. Is that a concession or am I just stupid . . . ? Never mind. Don't answer that.


Quill O'Sand said...

Modern poetry is written, I am convinced, by people who bite their fingernails to the quick and want to spread that experience with others.

Unless the poet is not writing in the modern manner, of course.

Of course...I look at Shakespeare and e.e. cummings (whose work i adore) and think...They were modern once, too.

So. You write for us, oh gifted scribe (soferet in Hebrew. I learned a new word last year.), a poem in your favorite flavor.


Anonymous said...

Oi vey. Whitman I can just barely stand, in small doses and with a talented guide. Per Dickinson, well all I can say is that most of her poetry can be sung to the tune of "Gilligan's Island."

In other news, Everything is Illuminated was wonderful, fab-u-luscious, and a total keeper. I did not realize until after watching the film that the translator is the front man of Googol Bordello, whose electronic Gypsy intelligensia sound is probably banned in New England for being too happy.

Hope you're well,