Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Poetics of Distraction

I totally get how blogging, or theory, or all the 1,001 poetry-related things we do that aren’t sitting down in front of something blank to write poems can seem like distractions from the “real work” of writing. But what if this is the real work? What if this meme-driven, hyperlinked, content-hungry, information-overloaded form we’re all simultaneously collaborating on together is the main thing the future cares to hear of us? How often in the history of poetry has the “real work” school been off about where the real writing is?

4 comments:

Chris said...

I'm not sure what this "real work" business is. When I signed on to this line of work, the job description was a blank sheet of paper. Do I need to stop wasting my time with other pursuits and stick to the job description "as written"?

Matt said...

The only thing I don't like is when people try to shove theory down my throat. It's really annoying when people say you can't escape theory, or poetry and theory are all the same or something. It's like sitting down to play chess and even before starting the game your opponent says "I win" and you say "why?" and he says "because I control the black pieces and the white pieces!"

But maybe that's true. Maybe people who are smart enough to understand theory do have control over everything. I just don't think it's fair that people like me, who aren't smart enough to understand most of the stuff that gets talked about on blogs, have to just roll over and admit defeat because we have no way to defend ourselves.

Bryan Coffelt said...

Existence-validating post. Thank you.

konrad said...

It seems to me that there is some sort of an equivalance between realizing that one is a poet, and realizing that everything one does contributes to that. It's not like a job.

So there is the work (activity) and the work (made poems), and the homonyms just point to that equivalence. But doubting or defending any particular work (of either sort) can quickly become doubting if one is a poet at all.