Flaming the Muses: Poetic Pyromania

Haunted by data, hounded by blog-bots, assailed by algorithms, poets have been reduced to human resources, fractionated, monetized and commodified like petrochemical residues of the antediluvian world. In keeping with that metaphor imposed upon us by ourselves, we await a mere spark to begin consuming our own fuel, flaming voraciously into poetic combustion. Through this incendiary process, we liberate the very energy that an unpoetic world seeks to label, quantify and merchandize. Flame, however, cannot be commodified—only intensified, suppressed, or extinguished. Elemental fire may be started by lightning, produced by physical friction, electro-chemical reaction, or started from a pre-existing blaze. Poetry is similar; whether sent from God as a bolt of epiphany, a spontaneous combustion, or as a transposed flame inspired by anterior works, April is our month for playing with metaphysical fire. It is thus that we, as elemental (or just mental) poets, refuse, at all levels (lyrical, cultural, mercantile, geologic, celestial and infernal, etc.) to be co-opted, commodified, and/or in any way politically corrected.

We poetic oilmen and women are the active nihilists of a nihilistic era. We locate promising sites, then we draw up, from below poetic bedrock, raw inspiration. NaPoWriMo allows us to drill deep into the sedimentary layers of poetry and tap into the deposits of lyrical fuel trapped within. Some gets pumped up, some comes gushing spontaneously to the surface in a crude form. It can then be refined to varying degrees of flammability and into differing types of fuel; think diesel versus jet fuel… one will take you further faster, but both are indeed fuel.

As oilmen and women, we pump our precious resource up in raw form from subterranean seas—the remains of lyric flora and fauna of a previous age buried under the silt of an inundation of data-driven global dullness. Through sheer creative will we set these deposits ablaze, to produce, out of the incoherent night that surrounds us, poetic illumination. In the light of our own flame, we cerebrate celebrate the utter uselessness of our artistic product—by continuing to create it, refine it, and then burn it up in a transcendent pyre of irrelevance. Thus, we wage uncompromising war against the powers and principalities of technoid global dominion. Our useless words, unread and unwanted, undermine the process of attempted global conquest by the unpoetic Enemy.


Shabby Proletarian Poetasters

 

Today anyone can scribble prose onto a page, give it arbitrary line breaks and call it a poem. Infamously, the minor American poets Robert Creely and Robert Bly got away with doing this, spawning generations of MFA wannabes and imitators. The post-modernist poem, known across the great pond as the McPoem, is not anything that a sophisticated reader could actually admire as he or she would Shelly’s Ozymandias or Roy Campell’s The Zebras. Rather, in our shabby social democratic times, it is a proletarian poem that any poetaster or poetasteress can write and easily get published.

from: counter-currents.com

Poetry as Nonsensical Sophistication

There is the poem of nonsensical sophistication, which is so filled with private code words and diffuse references that one can’t possibly find a steady toehold. This sort of poem is slippery as an eel, and again very easy to imitate, because the second one is pinned down by a thought one can slide over to another. An example is Terrance Hayes’s “A House Is Not a Home,” part of which reads: “I decided then, even as my ears fattened, / to seek employment at the African-American / Acoustic and Audiological Accident Insurance Institute, / where probably there is a whole file devoted / to Luther Vandross.” Hayes continues later: “I already know there is a difference / between hearing and listening, / but to get the job, I bet I will have to learn / how to transcribe church fires or how to categorize / the dozen or so variations of gasping, one of which / likely includes Ron and me in the eighth grade / the time a neighbor flashed her breasts at us.”

What? What is the “African-American Acoustic and Audiological Accident Insurance Institute”? You’ll find lots of this made-up capitalized stuff in current American poetry—an easy way to import portentousness when the material is flimsy to the point of nonexistence. Luther Vandross, transcribing church fires, eighth grade breast flashing—what the hell is going on? Also the pseudo-profundity: “There is a difference between hearing and listening.” Because it is an African-American writing this poem, we must impute jazziness to it—its saving grace, its code of honor, its point of entry.

Shield your eyes from the relentless brilliance of Anis Shivani HERE