Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What is it all for This Poetry

Kenneth Rexroth

What is it all for, this poetry, This bundle of accomplishment Put together with so much pain? Do you remember the corpse in the basement? What are we doing at the turn of our years, Writers and readers of the liberal weeklies?

As a poet I have often straddled two worlds; one that is filled with those who care about art and what it means to be a creative soul. As a business person I have striven to bring poetry into the banality of life as it is lived. Poets normally live in one world and business people in another world. For me at the moments when my soul could be sucked out there is always one or the other to make a difference.

Poets and writers who once meant allot to me have been discarded. After enduring unemployment and watching others whom I love suffer I no longer have time for poets whose primary objective in life is to be clever. While I never liked their work my patience for Flarfists is at an end.

But during my time without work a few poet’s work really asked the right questions. Rexroth’s fictional biography is a work that speaks to those of us who are nearing middle age and who are asking “is this all there is” my old friend Thomas Merton always satisfies, Peter Gizzi’s poetry cools the soul and Robert Creeley gives me back my spine.

Having left the shadow of darkness that is poverty I still am listening to the quiet. I am listening to those who are ignored and forgotten and trying to understand what I am to do? I continue to read- real paper books- and understand something clean and clear.

Do poets have anything to say? To this generation? To help us understand what has happened?