Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fourth Year, Day Three

Yesterday was the third day of school, though I didn’t have any classes. So instead I went to buy books and go to a poetry reading hosted by the English Literature Society. I can’t say whether it was bad or good, because I didn’t understand it. It was a Nigerian poet describing his experiences in new places, like Germany and Toronto. Now, I used to live in Toronto, so I recognized the landmarks, but that was about it. For the most part, I was glassy-eyed, and trying to stay awake. I only went to this meeting because a cute classmate of mine said she was going too. And two of my profs were there too, so that was cool.

At what point in our foojed-up history did poetry become about alienating your audience completely? I swear, this poet reminded me of Joseph Conrad.

At one level, I understand there’s a desire to generate and read a text that is densely packed with layers and symbols, to be decoded and interpreted in a variety of ways. But when it gets to the point where anything could mean literally anything, and it takes ten times as long to make sense of the poem than it did for the poet to actually write it, then it begins to remind me of two things: religion, and bullshit. Yes, despite their similarities, I’m keeping those two things separate today. I have enough to rant about.

I just believe that things should make sense as you read them. It’s all well and good that it can make MORE sense later, after much cogitation and reflection, but for the love of Jebus, and all that is Boly, it should make SOME sense when you first read it. But no – it’s about that feeling you get when you hear the words. The sights matching the sounds, and the sounds matching the sense and all that. Those associations you may, or may not have. In my case I almost never have them. I’m all for the sound matching the sense, but my question is: Where did the sense go?

I think, in the end, I did find his poetry inspiring, (as seen in the poem published a half hour ago, but perhaps only in spite of it. Actually, there is one thing in his poem that I liked. He compared the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers to the circumcision of a baby’s penis. That’s right. Osama circumcised New York!

1 comment:

Shadowthorne said...

I have always believed that ANY poetry should be better READ SILENTLY than verbalized. (Unless some beautiful constructed pantoems which MUST be said aloud at the end of a speech, its protocol here anyway).

Did you ask your profs opinion of the tedium induced session?