Tuesday, April 05, 2005

mediocre poets

that populate the internet -

this is an interesting attitude, but not unusual I guess given the very swift advent of technology in a field that is as old as humankind itself. Read: good poems come from rooms made of polished wood, lined with hard cover books, real poets write with pens and pencils, maybe sitting on leather seats, maybe there isn't any technology in the room at all - all those bad radio waves and microwaves and nano waves sucking true creativity and skill right out of our souls.

Enough. The internet is, for sure, a vast lake. There will be good and bad as with all things. I can rifle through a shelf of chap books and, well, there will be a lot of mediocre poems on that shelf. I could go to a 'live' poetry workshop here, in my small coastal milltown - not sure but I expect there will be mediocre poets attending that workshop, and maybe some good ones too. Hard to say. I actually don't believe there are any poets here - we have a 'poetry post' at the library but no one posts poems really - except for young children.

Here's the thing. One can say "The internet has only mediocre poets" and that might have been true, at the time of saying, but because we are talking about the internet, that truth can change within hours, if not minutes. When I first heard the statement a year ago, I was wondering if it might not be accurate. When I hear the same thing said today I think "Wake up. You've been asleep."

The internet now has many quality Poetry Journals. This brings poetry, good poetry, into the sphere of all poets and readers, even those in a town like mine. The internet brings me the poetry of past masters as well, I read their names and I look them up and lo! I can read their poems. It's amazing! The internet has poetry challenges, online poetry classes, and poetry workshops - for all levels - that function beautifully. These workshops will have a huge impact on poetry - an impact that cannot be measured at this time.

In my mind, the internet is giving poetry new life - a rebirth. Thousands of people are now writing poetry that maybe didn't jot a word before and thousands more are now reading the stuff.

I started writing poetry online because of an online poetry course and the encouragements of an online poetry instructor who I have never met. I put some poems up on a website and sent the link to my family. Now my family all read poetry, more than just mine! I had a brother actually buy a book of poetry the other day - he said he bought it for me, but loved the poems so much he is keeping it. That man has never read a poem in his life before I started writing them, and the internet made it available to him. My 10 year old knows who Sylvia Plath is. We make The Red Wheel Barrow jokes. This would never have happened without the internet.

This is just me. I am sure this kind of thing is happening around the world.

What makes a poem good or bad will never change. But how a person comes to write or read that poem is undergoing a revolution.

hooray for the internet

3 Comments:

Anonymous Pearl said...

That is encouraging. Literacy itself can only take you so far when you have no access to the infinite number of things to read. To be put on fire, you need access and community supporting or modeling the internet is all that. It's the sharing revolution getting away from this paranoid (c) protectionism and letting people walk freely and fearlessly among ideas again.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Wrong Nation said...

Throughout history, for every Emily Dickenson that was discovered, there are hundreds if not thousands who have died undiscovered with their poems tossed into the trash upon their death.

The Internet can discover mediocre poets, but it can discover great poets too. It is just another tool you can use. While I still think there is no substitute for being physically in the company of other artists, the Internet can help get you there too. (And perhaps hook up with artists who excite/inspire you as opposed to ones you simply tolerate for the company.)

6:22 PM  
Blogger gunesvara said...

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12:18 PM  

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