Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Piñager Paradox

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #25
     We can never say "No" in response to the question "Are you awake?"

     In similar vein, the mere fact that we are reading instead of ever listening to something suggests that it is not poetry.  Text loses all the repetitions of sound that help verse fulfill its primary purpose:  to worm its way into our memory.  Reading poetry aloud privately doesn't do the job;  it's like trying to tickle ourselves.  Just as tails and gills become vistigial or disappear entirely over time, text-only editors will inevitably present prose as poetry, having eliminated the differences (e.g.  sound repetitions, rhythms, etc.) between the two.

     This is the second greatest challenge for poetry book and magazine publishers (after finding a way to compete with music).

Ye olde Churchkey
     The easiest get-around is to include [preferably audiovisual rather than sound recording] performances, typically via DVD or URL.  However, this causes many an editor to reconsider the whole endeavor, as the presentation makes evident that their "poetry" lacks performance or poetic value.  This is the dynamic nature of the Piñager Paradox, a dilemma that becomes more acute as competing poets develop their presentation skills.  Soon, any publication that does not include such videos will seem like a Black and White television or a non-zip beverage can.

     For what it may be worth, of an English teacher's many transgressions, none is more egregious than having students read Shakespearean plays without attending or, at least, viewing them.

"Piñager" is pronounced "Peen" as in "Pinot noir" and "Yeager" as in Chuck.

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