Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

New for A Pocketful of Poesy! The "Any Good" Tag

In addition to being a poet of unusual repute, I am also a quite keenly appreciative poetry critic - with faculties honed up the wazoo! I can critique the crap out of most poems. SO! I have a confession to make. It's long been a bit of a source of personal and professional embarrassment (well, amateur embarrassment) to me, that on any given random perusal of A Pocketful Of Poesy, there are always a lot of goofy little one-offs and experiments, and out-and-out japes, such as I would not submit say to a literary journal. Such as I would not, say rather, be proud to submit to a literary journal.

Now I will be as plain as this. I am proud of the japes. I love the japes. I don't want to leave out the japes. The japes stand in testament of how great poetry can be - how far more versatile than any wan panel of juried experts might wish to allow. I don't want to leave out the experiments, either! Successful or failed. The whole point of a Poem-A-Day(-On-Average)-Blog is to show your work: dorky warts and all. To impress upon the public (or those of the public within whom the yen poetical blooms!) that even the greatest of all poets, capable of producing the very greatest of poems, with mind-crunching regularity - can yet also work a far greater range of effects from his or her palette than just the bringing forth of one of that rather narrow range of poems that seem destined for the pedestals of white-walled exhibition halls. Rather, a great poet brings forth on an amazing basis, from his or her metaphorical lush stables and fecund grounds, a far richer cornucopia of sweet crops and gamboling livestock than merely the hand-picked "fit for publication" prize-winning sows, which in the paper-press days were the only poems that would ever even be submitted. And which consequently, hogged all the blue ribbons!

Poetry is more than that. Poetry is for more than the pedestal.

Every poem I've put out there, I want to stand by it and say YES: poetry can be used for this, too. Poetry is for this. Poetry is for way more than just sensitive, prissy explications of personal feelings and horrific self-experiences - or the lifting up into literature of some serious, hefty, ponderous issue. Poetry has ways to do anything infinitely more or less than such things! And through whatever poetry can do - its whole range sings. Poetry can toss off a wire-fine, peripheral-eye smartass crackling observational lightning blot, just enough juice to jolt! - and leave its tiny, offscreen point blackened and smoked. Poetry can throw a puzzle up into the air and let it come down - catch it! - solved. Poetry can just be looking at a cloud. Fuck. You go ask Basho about that, if you think otherwise - he will probably bash you for that, yo. You could catch a bash, for that. From Basho.

If only all poets' names were as fun to say as Basho! I'm sure the form would be just as respected as today as it was back then.

Even the poems that I can admit (from a distance) failed, I want to stand back from them too and say: these belong here. My spectacular triumphs do not tell the whole story. I want to show also where I've tried. And maybe, arguably, yeah definitely: failed. Because this may only be the first draft! And that will be instructive to see, when I circle back next for another hot take to jolt this poem's embarrassing corpse into something far more glorious! Sometimes the only difference between a try and a triumph is a little "umph."

But the pedestal poems are important too. The ones that I stand by not only proud but smug, as if to say, "Hey. You know? Poems of this caliber? The more of these I churn out and pile up in public working from total obscurity...? It sure does kind of make the supposed poetic establishment look pretty suspect by comparison, huh? Huh? I mean, you can go on the internet and click on some amateur, and his shit's better than you. Swallow that pride, bud. Feels good. Oh yeah. Now go digest it. And whatever comes out the other end...? Turn that shit into a poem."

See, that's how a real poet operates. Viscerally. And yes, my tip-toppiest snootiest best can and should stand and serve in some way as a "rebuke" to Poetry itself! Poetry fucking deserves it. How did Poetry fall so far, for so long? I'll answer that question for you, folks: slowly.

So bottom line: I'm going to start going through my poems, probably concentrating first on the ones people have rated or commented on. And I will be looking hard at those, with a critical eye. The poems that can bloom under that harsh, withering scrutiny and stand up "pedestal-proud," I will tag with the label: "Any Good." It's going to take me a while to work through the ol' backlog, but once I've got a respectable number tagged, bagged and ID'd, I'll slap a sidebar button on for all the world to see: click here to winnow out all that glorious dross, and glory in only the pick of gleaming golden kernels.

I figure that in any given stretch of 365, there will probably be a good 20 to 50 to perhaps as many as 175 poems that will be good enough to put up as if to say: hey, world. Hey world of poetry. You see these...?

These is mine's.

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