Monday, June 30, 2008

I'll tell you a secret.... I have a hang-up about poetry.

I sit here with my mind somewhere else... I'm thinking, can I be certain the lawn doesn't shrill in anguish at the sound of a mower? Okay, seriously I'm really thinking about the existence of words without sound. They don't require sound do they? Of course not... I'm plotting them out here on the computer and there is no sound, save for the clicking of the keys and you can't distinguish the sound I made for and from you.

When I was in high school our Latin teacher referred to Latin as a written language as opposed to a spoken language. I'm imagining if today English were strictly a written language how different communication would be. Certainly less spontaneous.

Poetry readings would take on a whole new meaning. Imagine a poet walking into a room of eager poetry consumers. Theater style seating. The poet passes out sheets of paper to the some 25 to 30 people who showed up. Then he stands back and watches the non-verbal reactions to what is read, and imagines what parts the people are reacting to and just what those reactions mean.

I don't suppose any of you are buying this scene. You probably are even questioning that we got more than two dozen people to any kind of poetry reading. Why am I even talking about this idea? Well, as much as I do enjoy doing readings (where I read aloud my own poetry) I am convinced that spoken word poetry still lacks something critical to language. That is to see the poem on a printed page. To see the words - the spaces between. The black and the white. The image and the lack of image and the whole visual that creates both. I guess simply put, I want all poetry to be viewed as concrete poetry. It's just a little hang-up I have.
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