Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Directions - Part I: Up Versus Out
"Make it new." - Ezra Pound
Before the age of skyscrapers, settlements grew into cities by expanding outwards until they ran out of room, then inwards, crowding buildings and people closer together. Modern cities grow upwards and sometimes, where the ground permits it, downwards.
This trend is universal. For example, crude predators like cats look for new ground to despoil while we more sophisticated squirrels expand our population upwards into trees.
In the search for new things to say a writer stretches our borders laterally, bucking against the "nothing new under the sun" brick wall.
Even if the author succeeds, someone else could come along and produce a superior work on the same theme. We don't remember the first, we remember the best. Expressed in clichés, then, the search for excellence is a "rise for the prize" as we "stand on the shoulders of giants".
Barring a few obscurities, poetry added new forms until free verse, which had been around for more than half a century, established itself in the 1920s and 1930s. Having expanded as far out as it could, poetry moved inward thematically, as with confessionalism, and structurally, with a marked reduction in the variety of forms used. As universities crank out so many new poets things are getting crowded. It's time to move upwards.
Thanks to YouTube, we have the site. We even have a Foundation. Now we need to develop a new architecture.
Next: Directions - Part II: Architecture.