Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Mailbag #2

Dear Tribal Hack:

In many poems I've lately read, sub-genres within sub-genres within offshoot schools within reactionary schools against so-called traditional poems and poetics have made it so that only the writer and her/his God or god or spirit or lucky charm of choice know what the fuck the words mean, or even refer to. Is this desirable? Or am I being hopelessly old-fashioned?

-- Gerry Mander

Dear Gerry:

Get with the program. Opacity is mystery. And we all know that mystery in a man or woman leaves a lasting legacy of sexual intrigue. Yesterday's "New Critics" tried to elucidate for readers unschooled in Modernism's antecedents. Today's theoreticians have vanquished the past. No more the boring old staples of sanity, thought, trope, tactile fact, sensuousness. Make your Lacanian text into a wizard had in the porto-potty. The unconscious is unconscious. But I regress.

Dear Tribal Hack:

How many poets does it take to change a lightbulb?

-- Ham Pere

Dear Ham:

A class of 25. But the process of changing is more important than the final illumination.

Dear Tribal Hack:

Last week's answer to poetical sartorial splendour encouraged me to put your image of exuberant audience display in play. I was thrown out -- after the meat-draw-winner-wrap-up, and before the intro to the first of five poets -- when I tried to disabuse a furred lump of his pewter metrical abacus by borrowing a stray bead to try on as cool coffee-house ear stud. Envy on their part? Or lack of tact on mine?

-- Nick Stone

Dear Nick:

That's cool. What you attempted was true performance art. Performance art has, unfortunately, acquired an unjustified bad rap from closeted versifiers who make Bodhidharma seem a social butterfly. Performance -- the Greek etymology refers to a furnishing (and all good poetry venues should be tastefully furnished) and to a completion (not a boring ongoing "text"). It's time you took your gig on the road. Take your microphone, but frisk for, and apprehend, cameras.

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