Saturday, January 26, 2008
The Poetry Foundation Web site is a tad bit wheezy, but I get a kick out of the idea of "celebrity poets." Call me the romantic capital "r," but I do believe that to a certain extent poets are born and not made. What I would term "Lizard King" syndrome drives fans of celebrities to pick up their books of poetry to get a taste of the inner-most thoughts of those said celebrities. I'm being sincere when I say that whomsoever felt any comfort in books like Touch Me by Suzanne Somers is welcome to it. I'm somewhat of a populist in that I hope those who come to poetry do so for many varied reasons and it's been a blessing and somewhat of a curse for me, so I do hope that poetry provides something more than an intellectual game for those who read it. As a 14-year-old I remember very clearly buying No One Here Gets Out Alive and reading for the first time about Jim Morrison's infatuation with the writing of Arthur Rimbaud. I don't criticize those who would scramble to buy a book of poetry by Alicia Keys. The best thing that can happen to someone reading poetry of any kind for the first time would be that it spurs something to happen. If the reader of Ally Sheedy's or Billy Corgans' poetry goes on to become whatever it is they feel they need to be then all the better. Poetry isn't about an experience it is an experience. At the very least it's been proven that reading poetry increases ones ability to think abstractly. Wallace Stevens would be the prescription if that's the goal. Just don't ask me to ever give up my treasured copy of Listen to the Warm by Rod McKuen. It's the Plan 9 From Outer Space of poetry.