Vox Populi

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Doug Anderson: Another Monday night at the Dirty Gerund Poetry Show

Another Monday night at the Dirty Gerund Poetry Show. I’m one of maybe four people over thirty in attendance but I think Kerouac and Ginsberg and Creeley were there in spirit. What performance poetry has that mainstream poetry doesn’t: a sense of excitement and anarchy. Although the quality is uneven I can see mainstream and slam moving toward each other in the desert. The Ruckus, the house band that with punk and blues roots accompanies the poets. Something’s happening you don’t understand, do you Mr. Jones? This gives me hope.

Where else can we hear poetry that has a personified pricing marker in it. There’s something heartening about watching working people show up for this straight from the job. People from mills, machine shops, etc. Where else are prizes given for spontaneous poetry written on a lamp or straw hat?

The tradition of leaving a flaw in the carpet so as not to insult God, who is the only one who can create perfection, is interesting on a lot of levels. It assumes that the carpet weaver CAN make perfection but is choosing not to. But better yet it leaves the door open for spontaneity and the unexpected. Thinking of what can be accomplished by leaving intentional gaps in a poem.

From Keats’ letter to his brother: “I had not a dispute but a disquisition with Dilke, on various subjects; several things dovetailed in my mind, & at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half knowledge. This pursued through Volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.”

All good poetry is political because it discovers the real all over again and breaks language out of its carapace of habit. What all oppressors want of their oppressed is a kind of sodden numbness and a slavish appreciation of the fashionable addictions given to them to keep them sodden and manageable. To see life as the powerful thing it is and rediscover it repeatedly is by definition subversive.

Copyright 2015 Doug Anderson

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This entry was posted on October 23, 2015 by in Personal Essays, Poetry and tagged , .

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