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, October 28, 2014

Problems We Ain't Got

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #135
     In "The Capitalistic Quandary of Poetry", L.L. Barkat begins with a sentence as provocative as the title:  "What if access trumped ownership?" Access.  Capitalistic quandary, moorings and thinking.  Poetry's need to "turn us on our heads", moving toward a "shared economy of human wholeness, life, and love." (WTF?)

     The catch is that not one of the problems mentioned actually exists.  We don't live on a planet where millions look for poetry to read and find their paths blocked.  Quite the opposite.  The Internet provides us with millions of poems, some of which weren't written by L.L. Barkat.

      Later, we see the same dull question reiterated, without respect to its obvious answer:

     "Who owns great poetry?"

      The copyright holder until expiration, then everyone.

     "Who is allowed to handle it, invest it, mint it, spend it without question?"

      The copyright holder until expiration, then everyone.

      "I am not asking who has the rights to mediocre poetry."

      Doesn't matter.  Same answer.

      The zeal to shove poetry in front of people--called "access" in Ms. Barkat's idiolect--leaves no one safe.  It bubbles over as she asks:

     "What about the prison system?"

      What about cruel and unusual punishment?

      Nowhere does Ms. Barkat involve an audience in the selection processes.  Some committee makes a choice and plasters its idea of poetry across the landscape.  That's not "cart before the horse";  that's cart without the horse.  Chicken without the egg.  Nevertheless, her "solutions" to poetry's nonproblems are well worth addressing:

1. Teach it like it's alive.

     Pretending poetry is alive is the problem, not the solution.

2. Bring it home.

    "...what are the chances [poetry] will be truly accessible to the mind and heart?"

     What are the chances of us barfing here?

3. Transport it.

    "Poetry can come along. Radio programs, placards, posters."

     Yes, that's the ticket.  Make poetry as annoying as possible.

4. Paint it in the public square.

    "That which we value and seek to preserve and communicate, we highlight in our public spaces."

    "We", kemo sabe?

    "Why not paint poetry on buildings (without resorting to a night-time spray can)?"

     If my only choice is between the poetic tastes of bureaucrats versus vandals I'll take the taggers.  Every time.

5. Take it to work.

    "Celebrations like Poetry at Work Day..." are puerile and embarrassing.

     Let me conclude by saying I would never suggest that "it's time for (many) experienced writers to stop blogging."

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