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April 14, 2015


Love this Tim. You've described why I am a student of both poetry and magic (and don't like most poetry or most magic shows)--not easy to cast those spells, but so worth trying:)

I think a lot of this needed to be said and needs to be read. I however refuse to accept, even if it is true, this: "none of that value is left. The idea of using poetry for communication or commemoration is anachronistic, to say the least." My blog post "Is handwriting doomed" is an analog. In it you can read about why the boat builder opted for a tiller rather than a steering wheel. I was asked to write about my writing process for a publication in which several of my poems recently appeared. In it I stated that "I strongly believe that we need poetry of all sorts, just as we allow for classical music alongside rap," so I may take pleasure in a bit more than only that which is truly magical. The takeaway for me from this installment is without doubt this: that "poetry is the music of speech" -- most everybody can enjoy music, of one kind or another, I like music played on a mountain dulcimer in Appalachia as well as music played on a viola da gamba played in Carnegie Hall. I can't wait to see what is yet to unfold in this expository journey.

Well, anachronism has great value to some—I was saying that with respect to modern culture at large. Our epic stories will never again be told by reciting lines of poetry around a fire—they're told by Peter Jackson at the IMAX. That doesn't mean the former isn't still enjoyable, if you can find a group of people to enjoy it.

Thanks for giving voice to something I know inside but didn't quite know how to say. (I rarely read anything about poetry that I agree with.) I keep wondering why I don't like much poetry. You have given me one good reason.

I expected to read many comments, but alas, the interesting dialogue this piece should have created right here, will possibly take place elsewhere at another time. I personally have room to admire a little bit of everything but find 90 percent of what Poetry magazine publishes moribund and either dull dull dull or the equivalent of Ed Woodsian movie dialogue in poetry. There's a few better pieces in their April issue (which is available as a free PDF download by the way for those who aren't subscribers or who use to be subscribers but have given up on it.... The debate about academic poetry versus 'real' poetry, or page poetry vs spoken word or spoken word vs slam vs page vs formal page.... vs organic vs BEAT vs. . . well it all at times is interesting or was interesting but doesn't change the fact that I have read some well respected poetry books and found them very respectful but containing only a few poems that I really needed to read and a few that I've shook my head and wondered who actually, really and truly likes this and why? I flash-backed while reading this to some Harlan Ellison columns I read back in the late 70s. They seemed to be a little more daring and edgy in their commentary than what most were writing. I will add one thing however... I think more people watch Peter Jackson at home on blu-ray or streaming in.. and sometimes on a tiny screen...than at IMAX. YIKES.

Chris Jarmick writes: <<< I personally have room to admire a little bit of everything but find 90 percent of what Poetry magazine publishes moribund and either dull dull dull or the equivalent of Ed Woodsian movie dialogue in poetry. >>>> Do others feel this way?

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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