Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bad Poetry Is Good


Pushkin recites. A painting by the great Repin


June 3, 2012


Only I understand my own poetry.
If I read another poet
and get to the end of the poem
without being bored,
that makes her
a good poet.  People tell me that William Butler Yeats
was a great poet but I'll be damned if I understand him.
There are poets who play games with words
in such a way that the poetry bends the wind so that it ties knots in itself.
Listeners are embarrassed at their lack of comprehension.
So they applaud, to hide their gullibility, and the poet goes on to become a great poet with audiences at colleges and books on shelves at stores.
Another kind of poet writes in plain English                    
but, god help us, the poems rhyme, or they
use words like Wind, or Clouds, or Geese,
or Mountains.
For god's sake write in plain English. Or French.  
Or Serbo-Croatian. 
Let's start again.
I love MY poems.  I love Pablo Neruda's poems, just because I do.
e.e. cummings?  Hey, come on.  What a goofball.  
And Bukowsky; that's as close to real as poetry ever gets.
Mary Oliver is obviously wise;
Wise poets fill me with envy.  I'd like to be wise and not just barking mad.
I don't read very much poetry.  There's such a to-do over it, but poets rarely get paid
Rich poets are always terrible.  It isn't about the poetry.  It's about the poet.  We need poets,
badly, desperately.  But we don't need poetry at all.  So I guess the best thing
is to be a poet who doesn't write. 
Just don't tell anyone about me.