Sunday, February 25, 2007

mainstream, movies, limetree... I seem to be a-twirl in thoughts. pre-blog I kept a journal that was mostly reactions to anything. the clear intention when I started was to write about my reading. I ditched that immediately and started writing about whatever came to me: music, movies, commercials, weather. it also became more public in its voice than I expected. I saw it as something I would publish, tho I've made no attempt except to type roughly half of it out (600 pages) (I wrote it in notebooks). I bring up that journal because it suggests both methodology and license. movies are mainstream because everyone feels that they can comment on movies. whereas poetry is approached with awe, whether by those who don't read it or those who feel they can be critical scourges. I think Ron Silliman makes things murky with his School of Quietude vs Real Poetry dichotomy. the idea that SoQ is mainstream is to equate the Shawsheen River with the Mississippi. er, the Shawsheen runs thru town and will at its occasional pleasure flood a few basements. you don't see no Huck Finns on rafts on the Shawsheen, if you get my drift. I really should say, poetry-wise, there aint no stream. remember Maya Angelou's poem for one of Clinton's inaugurations? refried Whitman, and what would you expect? it's an occasion of affirmation and such, not poetry. what she wrote only pretended to be a poem, because who has time for poems when celebrating? the Academy Awards sanction not quality work so much as the image of quality work. comedies don't foster that sense of seriousness. the recent Pink Panther was laboured but the sight of Steve Martin and particularly Jean Reno dancing in leotards somehow makes up for all the by rote stuff in the movie. I don't see how poetry can become mainstream. the guilty pleasures of poetry consist mainly in chimey rhythm and rhyme. I mean, the wit of limericks seems (to me, anyway) to serve the satisfying thud of the rhymes. long ago I saw a parade. following the horses was a clown with broom and scoop. the clown wore a sign: Pooper Scooper. this was received as great wit, with people laughing and commenting. which brings to mind one of Baudelaire's little prose pieces in which a drunk speaks grandly to a donkey. alliteration and assonance, I guess the phrase is a poem. its not like poetry is necessarily so forbidding. Koch and O'Hara for sure are entertaining. movies enter by way of a big hole in the head whereas poetry seems to be more osmotic. the difference between the 2 modalities shouldn't be dismissed. which is where I think Silliman gets it wrong. well, I can't focus right now, that's for sure.
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