Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Addendum to the Below

Re: poets and popularity, Sunday's blog run unearthed poet Trevor Calvert (or "Colbert") recommending books—including G.C. Waldrep's—on San Francisco's NBC affiliate. How did I miss this one?

The segment's called "The Quills," true clarion for the Now. (It opens with a cheeky minuet. Rraaar!) Weird to see Trevor in that setting, against peacock logos and swooshing flatscreens, a banner for whatever book he mentions glowing below. It reminds you how artificial the markers of "the news" are, and how quickly the literary wilts under its glare (though Trevor's valiant).

I don't think, pace Kirsch, that poets deliberately eschew popularity. But there's an instinctive feeling that something as bizarre and interpersonal as poetry, especially in its visible form of a writer with text at a mike, needs its own habitat to not look utterly ridiculous. If the mass media's our measure of popular, I can't think of a poetry that could survive it without amputating what it is I go to poems for ... er, that for which I go to poems. Can you?

No comments: