10.12.2004

In poetry, like the U.S. Constitution, the author only has the opportunity to reinterpret the writing for a relatively short period of time -- say, 50 years or so -- sort of like copyright law terms used to be.

Poetry professional interpreters generally take over, and so they are sort of like judges and lawyers. Plus, the culture -- and the beliefs and practices that underlie it -- changes.

Contemporary American society is, and has been since, oh, the beginning of World War I, let's say, a culture of hypocracy. American religion is part of that culture, so is our pop culture, our politics, etc. The recent scandals in the Roman Catholic church -- because pedophilia was treated as a breach of doctrinal celibacy, I think, rather than as a violent crime -- are more severe than the comparative fundamentalist preacher scandals. A preacher embezzling from easily-led proles, er, constituents, er, "sheep", and / or having sex with them is not mistaking church law for state law. He is simply breaking (government) laws and / or doing something that he *says he believes* and *encourages others to believe* is a sin.

I am not surprised that several poets that I love were enamored with the idea of sincerity in poetry. I am not surprised that most of those same poets were political in an outspoken way.

One of the reasons I wrote such a crazy bio for DaDaDa, a book which has a center section based on female saints' AND heretics' writing called "Heresy," was so potential readers could perhaps see the relationship of my likely experience to my writing poetry with a source in other writing.

But one of the other reasons I wrote those poems was to see what would happened with interpretation of women's thinking and writing and actions if "god was cut out" from writings at a time where only religious women generally were able to and did write, and when they were most often forced to write under pain of death (the reason they violated cultural dissuasions to write). Women, if able to read, were often taught TO READ ONLY. So I wanted the poems to be readings and changing in readings and in media as well.

When you change writing so much, is there a thread that emerges, a "sincerity"? Or is it only the author which emerges? Who is relying on whose truth-telling? And in a culture of hypocracy, where rhetoric / persuasion stands for truth, where is poetry?


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