Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What kind of poetry do we need today?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself lately, so I’ve decided to take a shot at some possible answers.

Note that these answers come from a purely personal perspective, and have no merit to them, other than the pleasure that comes from writing them down in this blog.

1.  We need poems that speak of light and transparency.
Not the solid, clear cut, light of the sun at noon, the light of reason, the light of passion and will power in which Lucian Blaga’s poetry basks in his book titled The Poems of Light.

A different kind of light. A subdued and diffuse light – the light filtered by mists at dawn above brooks in the woodlands. Light overpowered by chillness and haze, gliding down over waters trickling downstream, casting shadows over wet stones.     

An open and cold light, a taciturn light, swathed in mother of pearl rags, at night, when we wait for the gong of a dream, lurking by the window, hidden behind curtains.

2. We need poems that speak of the intent to begin each day with unfettered confidence in who we are and who we can become, when all obstacles turn to dust, and the verses of this poetry become the energy and the blood that courses through our veins.

Easier said than done.  

Where can such poetry come from? Perhaps this poetry stems from the acknowledgment that each moment of a day is imperfect, and that every failure is an opportunity to start afresh – with honesty, and holding nothing back.

3. We need poems that speak of fluid rhythms. 

Have you noticed the fluidity of time that we perceive – its movements, subtle accelerations and its incoherent direction?

Time – hours and seconds, as if broken in tectonic plates, floating in a sea of uncertainty, almost a charade, on which we have no bearing?
This vagueness that makes us curious to capture its volatility…

4. We need poems that...

..the list is open, feel free to add to it.


John Hayes said...

Beautiful--I can't add--I love what you said about time especially, tho the writing in the third paragraph of item 1 is also haunting--mother of pearl rags indeed.

Anonymous said...

Yes we do, we need more poets like you too!

Anonymous said...

... follow the dictates of the poet's heart? I think each poet has to figure out his or her stance and sense of aesthetics, as you have done, not to say that a little experimentation once in a while wouldn't hurt. Very nice post.

bogdor said...

I was watching part of a talk given by Slavoj Zizek and I liked what he had to say about contemporary poetry; That a gap exists between the poetic view of the world and the world described by scientific knowledge. That poetry still speaks in the romantic terms that belong to a different world view and that the task may be to create poetry that speaks the language of our current paradigm. Perhaps this is the role of art in general. To both fill in the gap between experience and language, AND to imagine future or hope.

Here's a link to Zizek:

this reference is around 5:00, but the whole lecture is worth watching. Nevertheless, you should take what he says with a grain of salt :)

Irina said...

Hmmm...interesting comment.

I like the 'imagine' part a lot.
Art imagines reality...or perhaps the other way around?

The "imagining" process (for lack of a better word) is the slippery slope, where the tangled gaps arise - because this is where we create the gaps too - deliberately, I think.

Poetry, while it may appear as 'romantic'/vague/slightly out of synch topic here and there, may still be construed as a 'scientific construction' since its 'subject' deals primarily in language and metaphors.

One of the links that may be missing here (in the video) is creativity which fits well in both the artistic and scientific realms.
Creativity can be taught on a good day - but cannot be taught on a bad day.

I enjoyed responding to your comment!

All my best,


bogdor said...

Okay. It was perhaps arrogant of me to agree that poetry is romantic or slightly out of date since I am virtually ignorant on the subject. Let's say there's something 'poetic' about arts (painting, music, poetry specifically and maybe more), in the sense that they do not approach their subject directly as a scientist would tend to. Rather, we use an indirect route, as you suggest, that sometimes even further complicates the subject of inquiry. I don't think of poetry or any art form as a science, because the stakes and aims are completely different. We ask different questions, or same questions in a different way.

Imagination and creativity are important, I agree. In my opinion creativity is there from the beginning, it just becomes stifled in some people more than others for various reasons. Artistic activities seem almost mystical and completely intimidating or insane to many people who consider themselves too 'down to earth' or 'materialistic', but even they are creative because they're human. It's even more important to be creative on a bad day, than a good one!

Thanks for having this interesting forum.


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