Did you ever feel, as someone interested in Poetry (a dozen readers just headed for the door, careful on your way out, guys—) you were alone, or at least in a beleaguered minority, upon surveying the landscape of contemporary poetics and wondering why it SUCKS so much? Have you ever thought that poetry is utterly useless— and yet you persist in your love of lyrics and old-school versification? Do you sigh, and stifle suppressed rage upon reading those effete little poem-scrawlings in the margins of well-known Old-Media magazines and reviews? Do you struggle to comprehend how on earth Billy Collins and Rupi Kaur have become so well-known?
Are you haunted by ghosts of English teachers and textbooks that have hammered into your skull trite ideas like:
- say it in a new and startling way
- use descriptive language
- paint a picture with words of something that is special to you
- break rules of punctuation and scrawl freely
- let stream-of-consciousness free-association be your only guide
Ideas such as these are great for elementary school; but extended onward and upward to adulthood, filtered through the silliness of advanced degree programs and abstruse chapbooks (read by 17 people who are all department heads), the result is massive SUCK.
By Suck, I mean, more specifically:
- incoherent modernist free verse
- intentionally cryptic obscurantism
- Marxist drivel
- lame attempts at Dadaism
- wry and irrelevant observations
- self-centered confessionals
- strident (and/or boring) appeals to identity-politics
If you ever languished in such dismal swamps as these,
YOU ARE NOT ALONE !
What a relief, dragging oneself through the stinking sludge, to stumble upon a mud-crusted crate, kick it open—and be blinded by the blazing rays of Dan Schneider’s brilliance. Over the next few days, I shall be posting some pearls I found in the Cosmoetica treasure chest.