It is quite easy in art to decry rape, genocide, nuclear war, incest, drug abuse, racism, homophobia, etc. I mean, in arts circles the pro-rape, pro-genocide, pro-nuclear winter, pro-incest, pro-drug, KKK, & John Birch lobbies are so pervasive! I recall what Don Moss uttered after reading Carolyn Forche’s travesty The Angel Of History: “Y’know, Dan, before reading this book I never realized WAR IS BAD!”
You see, “Liberals” prefer being liked to being excellent. I like Maya Angelou’s sentiments—who wouldn’t? —Ted Bundy? But they’re trite & poorly structured. It’s part of a noxious trait that artists have— a desire to both show, yet shield their humanity from non-artists. Instead of merely acknowledging artists DO things differently &/or better than non-artists, artists adopt the hubris that they ARE different &/or better than non-artists. Artists KNOW implicitly that art is not a life necessity— go 2 weeks without garbagemen or 2 weeks without artists & tell me who you’ll miss more. Same goes for doctors, plumbers, & policemen. Art is not meat & potatoes like those pursuits. It is a chocolate sundae & artists resent this fact furiously (as a poet, trust me— few artists accept art’s superfluity as I do) so they concoct & construct grand rationales for art’s relevance/necessity. They then engage in banal homiletics— both poetic & prosaic— rather than engage with fresh wordplay, startling POVs, interesting & diverse subject matter. This is the dirty little secret artists (overwhelmingly liberal) dare not speak. This is why PC Elitists, nowadays far more so than conservatives, traffic in censorship— something, to his credit, even Bly excoriates. (I guess he’s not totally hopeless, after all.) But the sway of PC Elitism over contemporary art is just a passing phase. Multiculturalism will sort out its own in a few decades & the bad will fall by the hands of the next waves of Multiculturalists themselves. The Millennial era will be seen as one of laze, lost opportunity, & frittered talent.
Bly falls into didacticism—a trait he always displays with audiences—reading & rereading the most inconsequential images, lines, stanzas, & poems as if of cosmic import. It’s also the dead giveaway of a man unsure of himself, his talent, & in need of constant reinforcement. But then he’s always played the “insecure liberal”, wasting time & energy in politics that should go to art, who needs to show his/her innate goodness, go to a [3rd World country/rehab center/orphanage/social activist group] to see how the other ½ lives, translate 5th rate poetasters into English, & leach bad poems from the transformative period so crucial to their growth as a poet/person. It’s all part of the co-opting of language & freedoms by so many groups—PC Elitists among them.
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:
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:
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.