A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Too many good books are lost in the sea of hyperbolic blurbs, slick marketing, and over production. Robin Williams’ character, a recent Soviet defector in the 1984 film “Moscow on the Hudson” asks while gazing at Times Square, “But how are you supposed to know who the poets are?”
American poets in their desperate need to be recognized have buried themselves under a pile of their own books and magazines. Grown hungrier instead of satiated in their own feeding frenzies. who can blame the American public for not attending poetry readings or buying more poetry books if all they see is essentially the same blurb on the back of every book? So poets have created a literary Zeitgeist in this country in which they write mainly for themselves with disdain for what Ed Ochester calls “American dumb fuckism.”
So many poets are writing for other poets, and few go to the trouble to sort through the mountain of “new poetry books.” We’ve created a culture of literary incest and woefully selective reviewing.
On the other hand, not many Americans have ever been interested in reading poetry. We’re too utilitarian and materialistic. It takes a book like Howl or Ariel to dent the mainstream.
One remedy: publish anthologies and journals without crediting the authors, with the authors’ agreement of course. Let the poems speak for themselves, go viral without anyone’s name attached except Anonymous. See how such egoless marketing works in the marketplace. Believe in the test of time and the power of language over celebrity and fame. Reverse the saltless, fame-driven commodification of poetry in this country.
Does anyone really care now who wrote the myth of Orpheus or Persephone or Inanna or Adam and Eve? Why is so little known about Shakespeare compared to his contemporaries?
— by Chard DeNiord writing for Vox Populi