This Just In: Poetry Fatally Flawed

 

Poets are liars not because, as Socrates said, they can fool us with the power of their imitations, but because identifying yourself as a poet implies you might overcome the bitter logic of the poetic principle, and you can’t. You can only compose poems that, when read with perfect contempt, clear a place for the genuine Poem that never appears

Seven Circumstances

 

Abundant Mines of Poetry

In aristocratic ages each people as well as each individual is prone to stand separate and aloof from all others. In democratic ages the extreme fluctuations of men and the impatience of their desires keep them perpetually on the move, so that the inhabitants of different countries intermingle, see, listen to, and borrow from each other. It is not only the members of the same community then, who grow more alike; communities themselves are assimilated to one another, and the whole assemblage presents to the eye of the spectator one vast democracy, each citizen of which is a nation. This displays the aspect of mankind for the first time in the broadest light. All that belongs to the existence of the human race taken as a whole, to its vicissitudes and its future, becomes an abundant mine of poetry.

Of Some Sources of Poetry Among Democratic Nations

Alexis De Tocqueville: Democracy in America, published 1835–1840

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

Defunkt Poetry

You are strangling me with your love
in your hotel room of permanent disorder
I cry for help—for open air / you close the window and I pass out
between your walls / in your arms . . .

I slept alone for many whole nights / but one more minute / and I will kill you
you look at me as if you had no eyes / but when you touch me / I have no skin

You made love to a photocopy / and left the room / in perfect order
by leaning out of the window / and traveling / by ambulance

strangling me with your love…  (x 4)

You are strangling me with your love
in your hotel room of permanent disorder
I cry for help—for open air / you close the window and I pass out
between your walls / in your arms
(chokin’ to death)

strangling me with your love
(chokin’ . . .)

strangling me with your love
strangling me with your love

⊕ ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ DEFUNKT ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ ⊕ 

…and for you funky Germanophiles