Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Problem Of Accessibility

The Problem Of Accessibility "In fact, I have always firmly believed that poetry is about communicating an experience through art. The reader necessarily has to bring their faculties to bear, and maybe do some work. But beyond some pretty basic requisites, I've always felt that poems should be accessible. " ~Robert Peake

I often enjoy reading Robert's blog, but I must disagree with him on this point. I see the standard of accessibility as a burden that handcuffs any artist, including poets. To say that what one writes must be accessible is no different that insisting that poetry be written in strict form. Or even that it must be written in free verse. Such limitations are all nonsense.

I don't feel, as some will tell you, that what Billy Collins writes is evil. I do indeed enjoy much of his work. But I an quite frankly tired of the lame game in poetry, those who would insist that it must be this way or that or else!

If poetry is about communicating an experience through art, as Robert firmly believes, why is it the poet cannot choose whatever medium he or she sees fit to best carry their artistic message? Do we tell paint artists they "must use only oils" never pastels or water color? That it must be on canvass? Do we tell musicians that you must play music only in minor keys? That you must have a set tempo and only work with certain instrumentation otherwise it is not art? That photographic art must be in full color no black and white allowed?

I do enjoy Billy Collins. But if all the poetry I read was in the same mold, how boring would that get? And where then would the art be?

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