Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Poetry as Entertainment

Is poetry an entertainment? Is it just an entertainment? Is it more than an entertainment? Is it a religion? I'm encouraging answers or comments on these questions. It seems to me that poetry is more than just an entertainment. Of course it is an art. But, current trends in performance poetry being what they are, the entertainment factor seems to be taking over. I don't see anything wrong with a reader or listener having to work a little in order to experience a poem. Also, the titilation factor of the combination of rhythm and anger has begun to bore me in what I hear in downtown Manhattan. The more I have to work on understanding Duncan, Olson, some Language poetry, Zukovsky, and others, the more I get out of it.


Blogger Ron said...

How about a way of thinking?

10:22 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

I've always liked the idea of poetry as a way of making.

Maybe that would be inclusive of thinking and entertaining and devoting (to get "religion" in there) and feeling and expressing and showing and hearing and seeing and so forth?

7:10 AM  
Blogger incredulass said...

poetry is religion entertainment and dark laughter in the starless night

8:59 AM  
Blogger Anny Ballardini said...

Here are some answers, enjoy:

and I also just opened on the Poets' Corner this other page:
Why Poetry Exists:

3:00 PM  
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Blogger Tom Savage said...

blogsp-Not too long ago, I oberved to a kindly female poet of talent and renown that I did not feel poetry was as effective an instrument of social change as feeding the hungry nor did I feel that poets were the legislators of the world acknowledged or unacknowledged. To my surprise she turned away annoyed in a major way. While the recent upheaval about Laura Bush' cancelled poetry reading and the resultant absurd upheavals Sam Hammill experienced in his anti-war website definitely kicked up some dust, it is in my opinion mostly gradiose delusion that poetry changes the world. Trying to stop a dangerously high woman from taking her child from safe custody by handing her a poem, well probably not. But it certainly rattles the chains. Susan Maurer

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5:14 AM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

Most poetry isn't entertaining. A few poets are entertaining: Corso, Collins.

Many poets you have to study to get anything out of them. But some people find that entertaining. Doing a crossword puzzle can be tough, but it's also entertaining. Marianne Moore or Pound have some of the qualities of an entertaining crossword puzzle.

I think that poetry isn't political, and can't change the world. You basically have to be there with the poet from the beginning to get the poem. So it's more a matter of a recognition of similarity. I've never been moved to do anything by poetry, except maybe to try to write a poem.

Most of the entertainment industry depends on recycling archetypes and slinging it fast at viewers. The thousands of poses in prison outfit of Paris Hilton, for instance.

Something more iconoclastic can take place in poetry. It's a kind of traffic in militant iconoclasm. When it becomes political it tries to speak in a universal rather than a uniquely lyrical language.

But then again it might be somewhat pataphysical -- it holds to laws of generalization that can't be generalized.

At any rate, I hate poetry for the most part. I only like a few poets. I like Corso, Soupault, Marianne Moore, Pound, Williams, Fagin, and your own poems.

Most poetry doesn't strike me as poetry at all.

Are there some major poets who don't really strike you as poets? I guess I don't think that any of the New York School poets are poets except for Frank O'Hara. I know it's odd. But I don't think Koch or Ashbery are actually poets. I think they were gag writers.

Mike Topp is a real poet.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

I meant to say that Mike Topp is a real poet who dares us to think of him as a gag-writer.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Bobbi said...

Dear Tom,
i have pondered your question for a while. at first i thought your question was unanswerable but my mind stopped on the word “performance” and i feel this must be addressed (at least, for me this has become a bit of an obsession).
my impression of most poets is that they’re extroverts (but, of course, these are the poets i "meet"--the ones i don't meet are probably like me). i am not only an introvert but fairly reclusive as well. for me reading poetry is a sacred act i make important space for in silence. at its best i feel i’m connecting with the best efforts of another human. whether their interest be language or jokes or truly hard-hitting stuff, i am grateful for this connection--(but i’m absolutely against what i call “invented epiphanies” and all forms of idolization of self-image and lately the word “poetry” feels ruined for me. so much feels to be an "act" a "performance")--i feel i need solitude and time to contemplate poetry. and poetry is what gives me this time in solitude and so it’s sacred.
thanks for the question,
p.s. and i really wonder how much time people have to work on their poetry when they give so many readings--or maybe it's just me: i must prepare so long to "read"--and so i prefer to read and, of course, write...(and also, hard for me to get "behind" my words via personality pretensions etc.)(but this is moving into other topic)

9:02 AM  
Blogger susan said...

i think poetry
is a form of


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