Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Poetry is civilization

So I don't like prose poetry.

Not that a "prose poem" can't be an example of good writing--take today's Nepotist post--but it's not poetry.

Poetry is about restraint.

By definition it's artificial--all of our great accomplishments are. That's what civilization is, imposing artificial (and beneficial) restrictions on nature.

Prose, on the other hand, attempts to capture "natural" language--it's an uncivilizing force. This doesn't mean prose can't be beautiful. What it does mean is that when prose can be confused for poetry there's something amiss.

As the good Don says: civilization always consists in dressing oneself, not undressing.

Prose is language without clothes.

Poetry is language dressed to the nines.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"The Modern Condition" explained

In 26 words, no less:


Frustration is the distinctive psychological characteristic of democratic society.
Where all may legitimately aspire to the summit, the entire pyramid is an accumulation of frustrated individuals.

From Don Colacho's Aphorisms.


Friday, June 4, 2010

The Nepotist

Who doesn't want to publish their friends? Imagine my surprise when I got an email and a facebook message inviting me to submit "poems that you truly adore but have not been able to find appropriate homes for" to The Nepotist.

Well heck yes! So I sent off my three poems and waited.

On June the first, Anno Domini Two-thousand and Ten, The Nepotist was launched, with Grace Cavalieri as its first poet. The following three days have given us Rusty Barnes, Jenny Sadre-Orafai, and Ernest Hilbert.

Even more than I felt two years ago reading The Oxford American, I'm heartened and thrilled for contemporary American poetry. The work at The Nepotist has been nothing short of amazing.

Go there. Bookmark it before it becomes an anthology.