Monday, May 24, 2010

"Rose thou art sick"

Boy, today was one of those "one flick of the steering wheel could end it all" days. Among other things, school royally sucked!

Got into it with my Poetry teacher after listening to him pontificate about obscure classical refrences embedded in Romantic poetry for three hours, after which he hands me one of my poems full of his notes saying my references, to things much more recent, are too obscure, vague, and nonsensical.

I can not stand this kind of attitude. Just because some dead poet 200 years ago refers to what another dead poet who wrote a 1000 years before them doesn't give that poet any more credibility than my referencing a historical event that happend 300 years ago.

The thing about these poems is that you don't need to know the reference to get the emotional effect. They work on more than one level, you dig? Read it once, get the emotion, read it again after looking up the references and you get the story. That's how it works for the old masters, why can't it work that way for poets writing today?

It is either a symptom of modern poetry critics being snobs (only accepting difficult references in the old "approved" canon) or it is a symptom of their laziness to look up what a new poet is talking about.

Sure not everyone knows who Montclam and Wolfe are, or why their deaths resulted in glory for King George. But reading the line in my poem does give the impression that the gift of Canada was a hard fought one that cost men's lives. In other words a somber gift to a uncaring King. Aaargh. You can get the tone without knowing the historical reference.

Or let me put it this way. You can hear a Beastie Boys' song and not know all the Pop Culture references in it, but you can still enjoy the song. Just because you may not know what "The Taking of Pelham 123" is doesn't mean you can't enjoy listening to "Sure Shot."

So yeah. I guess I suck and I'll throw in the towel on this writing thing.

Originally posted on July 1, 2005.

This was after a very bad day.

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