Friday, November 6, 2009

The Profligacy of Poetry

In the new Poets & Writers, Dean Young (who is one of my favorite contemporary poets) begins an essay called "Beyond Intention: Poetry and the Art of Recklessness," this way:

Let us suppose that everyone in the world wakes up tomorrow and tries to write a poem. It is impossible to know what will happen next, but certainly we may be assured that the world will not be made worse. I believe in the divinity of profligacy. The creation of art--okay, just the attempt at the creation of art, as well as the appreciation of it--is both an enlarging of the world and an expanding of consciousness. To write a poem is to explore the unknown capacities of the mind and the heart; it is an emotive, empathetic exercise and, like being struck by lightning, it will probably leave you stunned and singed, but also a bit brighter--and your odds of being struck again then become that much higher.

I agree with Young on all counts, and was honestly moved by his description of the poetic enterprise.

Which is why it is somewhat sad that the following video--both cringe-inducing and riotously funny--is about the closest pop culture comes to poetry these days.

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