on a poetry listserv I belong to (that narrows it down! not), a poet I know personally, locally, etc. etc. made a post that I do not agree with, but I find it diifcult to argue with in that or any forum (see previous)
I can't repost what she said, but
poetry is not dead like gardening, quilting, and rifle practice
gardening is not dead, of course
quilting was changed into a craft, hobby, occasionally rising to an outsider art form, but the industrial revolution (and -- the participation in the industrial revolution -- for example, argricultural workers in rural areas kept *needing to make* quilts long after the rest of us were fully embroiled in the monetery system before this one, based on industry, AND the industrial revolution (cheap goods, jobs in mills) -- see my quilt poems
rifle practice is not dead; but it is not an art OR a craft even at its best
poetry is alive like painting is alive -- arguably more alive than the theatre, since theatre requires an audience that doesn't really exist, and an audience that needs to be enlightened and entertained in a different way than (now more than ever, believe it or not) educated audiences currently require ; poetry would arguably be MORE alive than painting because poetry is not competiting with photography -- although it is competing with alternative / popular music for the attentions of the young, so -- there we have it, one reason that before the youth of eurasia had access to commercial music, television, and film, literature ws a bit more important
additionally, poetry is not expensive to pursue like painting is, and it is even nearly free to pursue; poetry is not limited to a medium -- it can be sound only, visual only, sound and visual, performed only, on the page only, all of these things -- video, animation, documentary, fictional --
Not all poets are dirt poor. In fact, very few are. The ability to make a financial sacrifice for art is not being poor. Choosing a pursuit which is less expensive than some others, but also hardly ever results in, say, public art commissions, is not poverty.
more soon of this response; I have to shower before the tile guy comes over
ok, picking up...
Poets write for a variety f reasons, and have theories, justifications, and excuses for that. Luckily, because poetry lends itself to not only many media but also many purposes (entertaining, didactic, philosophical, humorous) we don't all have the same concerns. Unfortunately, this makes it rather difficult to assemble a "big tent" since some of us don't like the whole circus / tent revival sort of thing.
Since this post was first in response to a post in response to the new yorker story and I haven't responded to that -- having only begun with some poems, then probably a broadening concern about poets who are editors and publishers, and viewed as lesser poets by poets who want to be published by them but do not want to be publishers -- can we say ezra pound? and poets who read far more conservatively than they write -- say TS Eliot, Brenda Hillman or Lyn Heijinian, than poets who read less conservatively than they write -- it mentions the president of the poetry foundation. But he rhetorical move here -- that the separation of worlds, the conversations over cheap red and rice and quail and champagne being irrelavent to each other -- even being profoundly different -- is where I leave off to print out pics of how the garden wintered for the landscape poets in Woodland Hills
landscape poet wasn't there, bought two wisteria, three flats of gazania, two of pennyroyal, and some daisies and will return next week
of the modernist poets with modest or large fortunes, many spent it on poetry; ts eliot always wanted to work, and had ezra pound getting him jobs and grants so he would have more time to spend on poetry -- which he didn't -- he just got better and better jobs; people like james joyce and it hs been said dylan thomas, spent a lot of their time cultivating sponsors, benefactors, etc., because they wanted to have middle or upper middle class lifestyles
lots of writers, but even poets like parker, benchley, duer miller (the ol' round table / early new yorker staff), fitzgerald, faulkner, went to hollywood -- many writers still do; to say that this -- or the new yorker and its audience -- is anti-literate -- or politically conservative, as we might remeber the loooooong history of liberal literatu in hwood -- is quite false
of the OTHER modernists, under rebuke, WCW, made it -- Stevens, made it, Pound? HD? married it -- Teasdale, Monroe -- genuinely separate from main thrust of imagism experiences of the east, due to upper middle class status; long forgotten Aldis -- husband made it, gave a lot to poetry; Ridge, never had it....
The debate between red wine and beans and white champagne and veal is tricky because it is NOT a class or money debate, it is a rivalry about choices, what "deserving" or earning means, "quality" and "relevance." Where poetry fits in, and where it fits in to your life, or, what's more contentious now than ever, lifestyle. Some others wouldn't or couldn't frame it that way. And unfortunately, none of these decisions has primary bearing on the poetry itself, and while it does change who reads it right away, it doesn't change who reads it years from now *as much*.
There's a saying about rich men and camels and eye needles that applies to doing good / moral acts to help the poor. It really doesn't transfer to rich or poor artists writing great or mediocre poetry.