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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tests for Poetry or How Much Courage Do You Need?

Okay...so here's the deal.

Let's agree that poetry is a good and necessary force in our lives. Let us not quibble on that point or we will be here all day which will result in me getting frustrated and angry and we simply won't be able to have a decent conversation after that.

Okay then, poetry is essential. A dynamic force. Agreed? Good. Let's proceed.

Now let's agree that there are many kinds of poetry and approaches and shifting definitions etc. etc. We can all consult our Hazard Adams two-volume set of poetics if there are any doubts about that last statement. If we absolutely must we can always call on Uncle Ezra Pound as well.

I am interested in exploring what makes great poetry--words that last a hundred years;  words that people--even those who say they loathe poetry and poets-- will commit to memory and repeat to themselves the way a small child prays when he knows no one is listening; I want to talk about the kind of poetry that transforms us--the words which change our view of ourselves, our lives, our communities.

What we need is a new manifesto for the 21st century.

And I have a few ideas on that.

Stick around. We'll talk some more.

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