Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I don't trust the idea of a presupposed audience in poetry. I think that if you read poetry, you are a part of it. I might for example watch The Sopranos and enjoy The Sopranos, but it is pretty much impossible for me to make an episode of The Sopranos myself. I would need to at the very least meet with David Chase, and the executives at HBO, who would then supply me with the huge amount of money and resources that make an episode of The Sopranos. (And of course the fact that The Sopranos is no longer existent as a tv show... well that's never here nor there.) A poem on the other hand, requires only a love of the form to make. How much more DIY can you get? So the idea that poetry must be made accessible to an audience, I've decided I don't trust that. In fact, I don't think any poet should ever consider the idea of an audience, or a casual on-looking concern, people who want to come and spend their money but still be firmly relegated to spectator status. Poetry is already accesible to the audience, to make and understand as one sees fit. Self-consciousness could be one reason a person won't send their poems to myriad mags, the way others do. It's even a perfectly valid one. And one might just have a complete lack of desire to do so. But self-consciousness shouldn't prevent an audience from writing their own poems, thereby becoming a part of it's 'community', or whatever word feels more comfortable for you. If poetry is a large part of your life, there's just no excuse to not write poems yourself.

To stay with The Sopranos, which I love by the way, during an episode one is set at a defined remove from the action. Maybe to root for who gets and doesn't get wacked, but they're specators. There is of course some richness in interpreting the many layers on which the show functions, but this is firmly outside what comprises the show. And of course, there's the perverse lust of distancing that comes from celebrity. There's certainly less of that in poetry, or on a smaller scale anyway. But the cobirthing of a work's meaning is more immediately accessible in poetry than anywhere else. On a certain level, the reader is experiencing the work along with the writer. Either voluntarily or not, they are a part of their own consciousness of it.

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