Wednesday, August 12

Reading poetry

Most poetry I read nowadays tends to "third-manize" everything: considering the overwhelming output, it seems involuntary. Through centuries of Western materialism, we have been keeping ourselves more and more aloof, sinning in our privacy and then making the sin an art piece, so that we then also advertise the privacy which we think we deeply guard. Privacy? Or an inability to love someone else outside of oneself?

Too much of narrative poetry flows down the pages today, where no attempt is made by the writer to link him/herself to the poem. Only a pungent satire smokes the room in which we read it, or some doles handed out (in self-glorification? so that's the link?). True, you don't need to be a first-person narrator; you could be as far removed on a vantage as Frost in The Death of the Hired Man. And yet Frost's poem punctuates, stabs your heart with a thousand pauses, guilts; and thus it establishes a link to the writer, to the readers. It's not some story hung glazed on a wall; it's an exploration of not human emotions even, but human conditions. An exotic mix of places, words, and circumstances does not hold worth; what does is feeling what you are narrating.

Poetry written in abstract doesn't fare much better mostly. While narratives nowadays tend to emphasize "this thing happened to that woman," the abstracts overly use "the man," "the woman" as some general specimen type: the "one." Both alienate: so if someone writes a poem on despair, he makes me feel not just that he's in despair, not even the times when I was in despair, but he tries to forcibly make me feel I should be in despair, since his poem harps on either one should be in despair or one is in despair always, perennially, at least till the writer thinks fit to remove the spell and get into gaiety. I know after a bit of education everyone suffers from the illusion that they have something to say and from the delusion that people will hear them, but it's extremely difficult for someone who doesn't like systematic ways to bear the brunt of so many preaching pulpits, accentuated since most don't have even good orators (though this should be counted a virtue; imagine better orators, and I getting swept up by any of them?).

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