poMotion poetry

Outlaw Academics

with 3 comments

Apparently, there is a rather large rift in the poetry world—a chasm that spans such a great distance that whenever the two sides try to communicate, the meaning is lost in the echoing of voices vibrating across this canyon.

It’s funny.  I don’t consider myself to be an ‘academic’ poet, and yet I’m ‘highly’ educated  [Insert joke here].  I don’t consider myself to be an ‘outlaw’ poet, and yet I ride with the posse of free verse, free style, and open ended poems, whenever I can round one up.

I suspect there many other other poets who share these feelings.  I know there are.

In talking to some of my academic friends, they bemoan the bitter irony that in order to be tenured, they must write.  They MUST publish in order to be taken seriously.  At the same time, they are so deeply entrenched in the work of teaching, that the time spent in pursuit of their own creative endeavors vanishes almost completely.

There is also the ever so important issue of where their work is published.  Ironically, some of the greatest poets of our time are floundering in a pervasive cycle of seeking the approval of a system they resent- to a great degree.  But best not to bite the hand that feeds you, right?

Conversely, there is the outlaw band of poets who, for whatever reason, are riders of the fringe.  Their Our reasons are many:  disenchantment with the system, addiction, a lack of opportunity and resource, an over abundance of opportunity and resource, mental illness, and  name branding are a few of my suggestions.

Outlaw poets work too, of course, but their poetry is not metered (nor is it polished) by the restraints of academia.

Poets on both sides of this conundrum are self righteous, often one group seeing the other as a rag tag faux poets.

The reality is that they define one another using a ‘you can’t know true love until you have lost it’ kind of reasoning. A superhero and nemesis relationship if ever there was one.  How do you tell the hero from the foe?  By her actions?  By her words?

Poetry is older than literacy itself.  Poems were created and spoken long before they were written down and read.  Poets are, and always have been,  kinds of keepers of knowledge.

I’m thinking now of the scene in Thorton Wilder’s ‘Our Town.’  Emily asks a question and receives a response from the stage manager:

“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?”

“No. The saints and poets, maybe. They do some.”

Some folks tire of token gestures of acknowledgment of Poetry.  National Poetry month comes around each year like Christmas.  And like Christmas, there is a sense of falsehood.  The reason for the season can become clouded.  Why does Jesus wear that big red suit on his birthday?  It brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘birthday suit.’

Yes, it is a bit trite (sigh),  the whole ‘poetry month’ deal.  Still, whatever the means of getting there are, this poet thinks the more poetry, the better.

Tweeting a line of verse or reading about Pulitzer prize winning poet, Rae Armantrout is the kind of activity that keeps poetry alive.   Spray paint it, hand write it, type it, finger paint it, send us your submissions (pomotion123@gmail.com), start you own blog, craft a collection and publish it, read it, speak it, sing it…I would suggest that this is important all year round…not just on a holiday.

I’m going to close with a thought that is likely too cute for both the academics and the outlaws.

I had Chinese food for dinner last night:  hot and sour soup, Szechuan bean curd, broccoli and prawns, and endless small cups of Jasmine tea.

One of the best parts of eating out at a Chinese Restaurant, is the almond encrusted fortune that comes at the end- subtly sweet and foretelling.

I have played the read your fortune cookie out loud and then add “in bed” game before with much adolescent-like glee.  Here are a couple of examples in the case you are unfamiliar with the game:  ‘Persistence will lead to a promotion soon’ in bed, or ‘Your command of the language will open doors for you’ in bed.

Silly, I know.  I think that’s the point.

I came across a video posted by poet and blogger, Sandra Beasley on April Fools’ Day on her blog, Chicks Dig Poetry.

The word of the day is Poetry.  Everybody spread the word.

Posted by Sue Zalokar


Written by lickmypoetry

April 25, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Posted in Random

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. Excellent post… Iz


    April 25, 2010 at 7:11 pm

  2. GREAT post! Thanks



    April 27, 2010 at 7:50 am

  3. You are very expressive and positive in words, action and feeling…in poetry. Sue


    April 27, 2010 at 9:28 am

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