Thursday, January 03, 2008

P isn't for pessimism

I filled up my gas tank yesterday. I didn’t like it, but we are a mobile society and I do have to get to and from work. I heard the cost of petrol on the exchange flirted with 100 a barrel and I saw this morning it was up there again.

No one I know has recently accused me of being a Pollyanna, but I’m not the grim reaper either. Reading
Dale Smith’s 2008 poetry forecast makes me wonder if I should buy stock in Pfizer. Surely any poet who is not already on Zoloft will require it before long if Dale’s State of the Poetry Union Forecast were to be on the mark.

I’m not suggesting that there are sweet days ahead for the American Economy. I don’t care what the other economic indicators are, you spend $8.25 billion a month that is not factored anywhere in your budget for a war, over an extended period and there are going to be serious economic repercussions. That goes without the housing market sagging or the price of fuel. I’ll give Dale credit, we are in a mess and he’s called that right. But what Dale has described is a total financial collapse of the economy and linked to it a very disparaging result for the state of poetry.

Much of, no, nearly all of poetry written today is free from connection to our economy.
A good number of poets I know – many of which are quite accomplished writers don’t see economic rewards from their work and will write no less in 2008 irrespective of the price of fuel oil.

This past year was a pretty nasty year and I’d say that as divided as this nation is politically, we have right now about a 50% shot that the next president will move this nation in the right direction. It’s a crap shoot, and I’m being honest. Even if we are fortunate, the present state of affairs is so bad; I can almost guarantee we won’t even be halfway out of the sorry state of this nation by the time 2008 is over. Even so, poetry can and likely will flourish.

Most poetry readings are generally a local event. I see little chance of these becoming a thing of the past. The state of small presses has been changing for some time and likely will continue. Already we are seeing a shift in the print industry to print on demand for a number of reasons… inventory costs, environmental considerations to name a couple. As for the Internet, it's even far more cost effective as a means of commerce and would likely flourish in time of critical fuel costs/supply.

The year 2008 can go to hell in a hand basket and poetry will likely continue. It's in tough times that poetry seems to crawl out of the cracks of inspiration from nowhere and spring up everywhere.
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