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

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Out of sight, out of mind

      Does anything strike you as odd about the picture above?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #13
      As long as we believe poetry is primarily text, attention to sounds and rhythms will continue to decline, taking interest in verse down with it.  This is neither theory nor prognostication.  It is a tautology;  what we ignore will be ignored.

      As long as we believe poetry is an oral tradition we will overlook its dramatic presence.  Ironically, if poetry did involve disembodied voices it might have thrived with the advent of radio, as music did.  

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #2
     Were Shakespeare able to teach us anything today it would be that poetry is meant to be heard and seen.  Decades ago we saw the demise of text (i.e. Edgar Guest's column) and the disappearance of oral poetry from commercial media, concurrent with the rise of audiovisual verse (e.g. open mic, slam, YouTube).

     The modern trend toward incoherence is yet another reflection of the flight from sight and sound.  Who wants to seem or see a fool reciting nonsense?  In writing for an audience it is not enough to make sense;  we must do so in real time.  Otherwise, listeners can be thrown by one obscure expression, blurring the rest of the poem.  Visuals can facilitate instant recognition.  To wit, imagine reading or hearing this sentence: 

We live in china patterns, whispering words, like glyphs of straw, so strange to loveless minds.

     If we get past how two might "live in china patterns", "words...like glyphs of straw" may seem too "poetic" for many.  However, if we combine it with the photo at the top we create an "Aha!" moment instead:

     Poetry's future is its past.

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