I've always been fascinated (and frustrated) by poetry's "delicate snowflake" status, and how such a diverse variety of forms, styles, and voices often gets lumped into such a generic, cavernous category, like literary fiction and graphic novels. One of the things I've always loved about good anthologies and open mics is the inherent (or the potential for) diversity in those formats, something that's not clearly communicated on bookstore shelves nor the Dewey Decimal system.
I've noted often in the past that most of what I preach and practice when it comes to marketing and community-building, I learned during those four years of Mondays, and by the end of the night last Monday, I realized how big a hole I'd created when I walked away from that part of my life. So, I'm back.
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.
In the beginning, when I was trying to sell my first novel, I had a weird experience of editors really wanting me to write, sort of magic realism set in the Caribbean, or about recent immigrants with a magical ability (I've had two editors actually give me that logline and ask if I'd be interested in writing that story, but it's just not there for me, I've got other stories still to tell). There was a strong sense that, hey, this is how you can be marketed as a Caribbean novelist.
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.