Friday, April 3, 2009

All systems are the same system: Uh-Huh Month continues

We get the culture we deserve and wish for. One screech screeches: Can poetry matter? Why should that even be a question? It matters if it's casually subversive and alters consciousness without being righteous. It doesn't matter much to me if poetry doesn't matter to much in the great world out there, even though I speak [in my essays] about my work as a poet. Poetry finds its way, sometimes on the sly, and insinuates its powers into our lives: it possesses what D.H. Lawrence calls 'the insidious mastery of song.'

Poetry... like other offerings, is contaminated by the huffy, celebrity-driven ethics of commerce, of peddling and consuming. All systems are the same system. Rumor forges fame, consumers have to be instructed (and really do want to know) what to pay attention to, and so reputations are made, desires shaped and fueled...

I take it on faith that readers interested in the interfusings of life and culture, who believe that poetry brings what we need to know, brings questions we need to ask or conflicts we can't resolve, and who are patient with complexity - such readers don't have to be huckstered or harvested.

-- W.S. Di Piero, City Dog

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