Perhaps it’s just the drama this week offered — from the tragic and inspiring events in Boston, to some big things starting to shake loose at the day job — combining with the unexpected introduction to some good poems, but I’m getting that feeling again, a tentative spark that danced unusually bright in my brain throughout my run this morning. It wasn’t a full-fledged poem, just the beginnings of one, words and ideas tap-dancing to a vaguely familiar rhythm, a lucid dream that lasted for a couple of miles before threatening to fade if I didn’t write them down. So I did, cheating my cooldown and stretching to get to the computer as fast as I could.
Interestingly, Spiegelman nails the underlying problem with poetry in general, though he seems to imply it’s a flaw related more to a poet’s level of experience with form rather than an inherent flaw in poetry in general, but especially that written for the page. While formal poetry has never been my cup of tea, the vast majority of poetry — formal and free verse, written and oral — actually bores me to tears for the exact reasons Spiegelman notes.
While many book publishers and academy types might argue otherwise, poetry has always been an oral form, first and foremost. A poem on the page is theoretical, incomplete; like a promising idea not yet vetted. Reading your work out loud is also one of the best forms of editing, and not just for poetry, but straight fiction and non-fiction, too.
Inspired more by friends like Chuck Wendig, Will Hindmarch and Jane Friedman than Joe Konrath, et al, and emboldened by everything I learned from working with Joshua Tallent while running Digital Book World, my goal for the project was two-fold: do enough of it myself to have hands-on experience of what it takes, what’s “easy” and what isn’t; and to get the monkey of finally publishing this particular book off my back!
On Wednesday night, I helped organize and participated in Digital Book World’s second 7x20x21 event at the Bowery Poetry Club, and I had an amazing time! “Return of the Optimists” was co-hosted by the dynamic duo (and two of my publishing partners in crime), Ami Greko and Ryan Chapman, and the other 5 presenters — […]