Impelled toward a Momentary Regularity

Emerson’s remark helps suggest the all-important difference: “It is not meters, but a meter-making argument that makes a poem.” In this kind of poem the poet establishes regularity only to depart from it expressively. When he does compose a metrically regular line it is not because the metrical scheme tells him to, but because something in the matter he is embodying impels him toward a momentary regularity.   […] 

The poet working in free verse has already chosen to eschew one of the the most basic expressive techniques in poetry.

Paul Fussell: Poetic Meter and Poetic Form
(from Chapter 3, Metrical Variations)

Why is poetry dead?

Because the combination of song writer and recorded music displaced it. A song is much more accessible to the average person than a poem, and technology made songs widely available. Poetry responded to its diminished status by retreating into narcissistic incoherence. Sure the philistines may not recognize the true greatness of modern poetry, but at least poets could take comfort in their own self-declared cultural superiority. When public rejection became a necessary characteristic of great poetry, then there was no longer any hope.

It’s not correct to say a poet is the same as a song writer. It’s easier to write lyrics for a song because the song writer can lean upon the music. The poet has only words (and at one time such archaic concepts as rhyme and rhythm and meaning and significant subject matter) to carry his message. Poetry is a much harder art form. But better Dylan than a modern poet who composes what passes for poetry in this day and age. Better to let the dead decompose undisturbed.

commentary by Carl Jacobs at The Spectator

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.