Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Tim makes some excellent points on our little topic here over at Mappemunde. I don't have much time to reply at the moment, but I just want to make the quick point that, because I am a simple man, my question is really a lot simpler than Tim's answer. I'm all for danger in the arts, I write stuff that I like to think of as dangerous on occassion. And, by the by, I am not cynical about wanting to make change happen in our world. I'm annoyed by the ironic tone of much of the writing I see out here that uses cynicism as a way to avoid politics.

But I'm much for direct action, protests and the like. What I'm asking is not if poems can be dangerous, but can they be dangerous against the powers that be (hate that phrase). For example, does an American writing poems about the war in Iraq stand a chance of causing some real change to occur, or is this just a gesture of self-expression that helps the writer "out" some deeply held emotions. Again, I am NOT saying to NOT write poems of protest. I got a desk drawer full of them. Maybe in my own way I'm just afraid of my own impotence (careful) in such endeavors.

This is a good discussion to have, however. And Tim and I haven't slung any mud yet! See, it can be done.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Wrote a note to Tim P saying that when I stated that poems were unlikely to be dangerous these days, I meant more in the larger sense, political and social. Unlikely to change world events, I think I said. Can't you guys read between my mind?

I'm surprised nobody else challenged me on that point. Where do folks think poems have a power to cause change/disrupt other than at a purely personal level? For purposes of discussion, I think it might be harder to find examples (contemporary) on a national level. I know that there are international examples available, ones I know nothing about, people dying because of and for poetry. But what about in America?

Please be aware that because I say this I am NOT suggesting that writing to cause change or challenge some establishment or idea is a useless pursuit. I would say that fifty percent of what I read falls into this (now increasingly vague and I apologize about that) category. Dan Bouchard, to take a regional example, writes poetry that is sometimes fiercely political (to my ears) and it charges me like lightning at times. But, then, I was already there to begin with and Dan just helped let slip the dog within me. Thanks, Dan. (Dan writes on a variety of themes, sometimes even birds. I'm not aware of the birds' politics.)

But to address Tim's other question, "why does [Mike County] bother to write poems?" The question doesn't make sense to me. Does this imply that writers begin to write only at the point where events make it impossible to do anything else? That they must have in mind "danger" to some idea/person/event? I write poems like this too, but not exclusively I think. I don't know of many who do. I bother to write because I bother to write. I like the way poems look, the way they sound, sometimes I like my "message". And if other folks like my poems, I'm thrilled. If they don't I'm not a bit saddened.

So why do you (not just Tim) bother to write?

P.S. I freak out reading "The Tennis Court Oath" as well.

Note to Self

so at place

went advantage

stream vet

in motion

if you see the buddha

stack him on top of

the other buddhas and

take pictures

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