My old dull knife; I love that blade.
Behold her blunted self portrayed:
She shines, yet cannot make her point
Unsheathed, she’ll only disappoint.
Her edge, that dares to draw no blood
When cold, shall carve no willing wood;
Well-warmed, she’ll lose the fight to butter . . .
Despite her glitter, she’s no cutter.
A useless tool. There is none worse.
I’ll sharpen her—and then, my verse.
write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why and how you love it.
Beauty will be convulsive
or will not be at all.
André Breton, Nadja
While some ephemeral forms of art may be so, true poetry is neither convulsive nor spasmodic. Sneezing is spasmodic. Epilepsy is convulsive. Orgasms are convulsive and spasmodic. Birth and Death are often spasmodic and convulsive. But poetry, REAL poetry must never be considered such.
How can mere protoplasmic/organic shuddering be mistaken for poetry.? How can linguistic implosions and semantic expulsions be confused with well-ordered and considerately-crafted coherence? Apollo shines a light by which huntresses kill prey—while Dionysos falls off his donkey and vomits. Can impulsive voidings of incoherent language be entertained as creative writing with any actual value? Is an involuntary regurgitation of verbiage to be as seriously considered as a well-structured utterance? If so, then an adolescent doodle in the margin is as worthy of celebration as the Mona Lisa. Pinball is Poetry and abrasive noise is Music. It logically follows that all things are as valuable (and as worthless) as all other things in a nihilistic universe.
If readers become accustomed to convulsive vomitings in the name of poetry, coherent writing will finally appear alien and unworthy of note.
Is spasmodic frenzy inherently holy (in an artistic context) or is it nothing more than glorified twitching of the autonomic nervous system? Much modernist and most post-modernist poetry is not only dull, but destined to failure, while traditional conservative coherence represents the current counterculture and will endure the test of time.
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.