Monday, April 13, 2009

Damn the internet and damn politics

You know, Dante and Cavalcante still managed to meet in the middle and write some damn good poetry.

Even if their religion and politics were at odds (to say the least) they were drinkin' buddies.

But you sorta have to do that with your neighbors.

As we grow apart, first in urban-to-suburbanization, then in electronic group isolation, we lose that familiarity.

When I was at AWP, I don't think I met a person with whom I didn't get along. Heck, I'm buddies with Susan Schultz, whose politics and aesthetics probably couldn't be farther from mine. Of course, I took a class with her, which helped.

But then I look at all of this poorly written, shame-faced, shambling false poetry out there and my blood pressure rises. It gets worse if I ever take the time (which I do too frequently) to read the prose justifications of said poetry (note: if you've got to write a justification/explanation for your poem, it sucks; Eliot just wrote the notes for The Waste Land in order to get it to near book length -- quit being an imitating iguana). Worse still if I read the naive political views of so many of the authors (seriously, folks -- did you ever read your history books? Wikipedia has a fine collection of historical facts; perhaps you look at them for a mo').

I know, from the writing of The Declaration last year that the reverse is true. There was a tiny storm of poo from some circles. Actually, I know someone who stopped talking to me because of it ("know I am not your ally" says he).

What gives? Do we all need 3D printers/replicators and video chat so we can get drunk together?

How do you create a sense of community among people with disparate interests but who aren't in one place?

Is it even possible?

Perhaps that's the question of the next few decades. . . what diverse communities can we build when no one has to live together?

No comments: