Saturday, December 20, 2008

A riff on the people who 'hate' poetry...

The choice of Chicago's Elizabeth Alexander as the inaugural poet is, unsurprisingly, generating sturm und drang among the cultural monotheists who don't think that, with the possible exception of the birthday cards they send their grandchildren, anything writ after Yeats and Pound qualifies as poetry...

The willful ignorance and anger of those who neither 'get' poetry, nor wish to, is staggering. It isn't enough for them to treat it like hot peppers or escargot some other exotic food: "Hey, I don't happen to like it, but if you do fine."

The dismissive voices instead decry the art as if their personal opinion were the be-all and end-all of culture. As if they had, simply put, a clue, about poetry.

Need I explain that the level of poetry we're discussing is NOT available on Hallmark Cards, in bathroom stalls, or as a dirty limerick?

Poetry is song with the music built right into the words - it is the rhythm of language, and, like any other form of music, some folks will like one tune or type of poem more than another.

It is sad that those who do not care for the art feel the need to attack those who do.

Poetry is not evangelical - nobody cares if you don't like it and you won't 'burn forever' for not listening to spoken word. All you will lose is the magic of vision, the power of imagination, the beauty of a painting that can be heard.

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