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Friday, January 14, 2011

Cultural Citizen: Your Rights and Responsiblities

Dear Reader,

I'm sure you know this, but allow me to say it one more time.

Your acts of buying poetry books, attending readings, supporting journals, participating in discussion groups are all the ways in which you contribute to shaping the culture of our time.

Or, to paraphrase the cartoon character Pogo--We have met Society and Society is Us.

As a cultural citizen you have certain rights and responsibilities.

You have the right to expect great poetry to be written in your lifetime.
You have the right to expect poets to create innovatively.
You have the right to have access to various themes, purposes, styles, types and forms of poetry.
You have the right to want publishers to take risks--groundbreaking books, writers, themes.
You have the right to want the future to speak to you through poetry, the past to breathe with you in poetry and your present to be distilled inside of poetry.

Your responsibilities are as follows:

Don't limit what poetry is and can be. Poetry is big and wide and encompasses many approaches
Have high standards. Expect the best.
Poetry is a learned multi-faceted  pleasure. Allow for that possibility. .
Read new and different kinds of  poetry. Be a risk-taking poetry reader.
Be uncomfortable.
Consider Poetry from different ages.  Let your imagination explore the dynamic natures of poetry.
Stop being intimidated.
Or impressed.
Or just plain snarky. Come to the poem with an open imagination.
Consider the individual poem as if it were a person. The poem as a reflection-- as well as revelation-- of its time and place.
Poetry has its secrets. Be nice and it will whisper to you.
Be an educated consumer of culture.
Understand that culture exists because you exist.

All Best,

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