Monday, August 22, 2005


JH: Sometimes I track motifs while reading. The Modernists are to blame for this habit of mine, I suppose. Monster has no forethought in this matter, but plenty of median-thought. A Zeno's arrow of intentionality? I think an outside reader would find a lot we haven't noticed in this department. I love classic and soon-to-be classic monsters too - perhaps this shared interest is one of the reasons Monster grew so large. I won't give in first, either! Either one tome, or several volumes would work for me. To turn to the marginality of poetry - if it was less marginalized, it would pretty much be more of the same. There would be more coverage of books and more sales of books, but I cannot envision anything more than this. The only things novels and popular nonfiction have that poetry doesn't, worldly-wise, are more reviews, author profiles, sales, and distribution. But perhaps I'm thinking traditionally here by focusing on texts - do you think that poetry should align itself further with the performing and plastic arts? And could web art that uses poetry ever reach a more popular audience, and how? Web art could lead the reluctant to poetry via the use of humor and popular culture.

AHB: I don't know why I bring up marginality. It is not something I worry about much. You make a good point about the intensity of this so-called marginal writing. How much energy goes into fluff structures in terms of popular writing? That's a rhetorical query, the answer is lots. Truman Capote wearied himself right down appearing on the Merv Griffin Show. Poetry is fluid, whereas popular literature is a matter of fulfilling reader expectations. I don't know what poetry should do, frankly, except maintain that fluidity. It can be performed, with quite a spectrum of expression. Poetry flows into plastic and visual areas. Geof Huth is a good example of, and info source for, visual poetry. For instance. Poetry, it seems to me, is a continual reconsideration of form, whereas the novel, well, for all the inspiration of X, Y, Z great novelists (if I haven't said it afore, certain novels and novelists have been important to my own work), the focal inspiration is to get the story told. So poetry is a very good monster to have in your landscape, at least if you like surprising rumbling sounds that aren't necessarily emanating from your stomach. I flinched from the idea of popularizing poetry, as Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky endeavoured to do, yet I regard poetry as essential just as WCW had it, “people are dying everyday for lack of, etc”. Do you ever bring up poetry to non-poets? Say co-workers, or whatever social sitch? You can't assume any non-poet has read Lord Byron let alone Susan Howe. Does this aspect of marginality get your goat? Would your goat like to meet a famous poet? Would you have much to say to a visiting poet, I mean one you admire, and is also on the living side of the ledger? Would you talk shop, or explore the nuances of social talk?


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