Jan 4, 2009

Canon fodder for thought

You don't like being pigeon-holed as a gay man, Greg? Weird! :P

Can't say I agree with the gist of the article that printed poetry's a dead art form (obviously), but I do agree with your own sentiment that people misconstrue performed poetry as dumbed-down.

It's funny. In academia, literature PhD profs/students (critics) often make the same claim of MFA profs/students -- that they're writing, but it's not the "real thing" like Shakespeare, Keats, Dickinson, etc. -- while MFA profs/students make the corresponding claim -- that literature PhD students are muddling around with dead language. Hell, Socrates (through Plato) was the first to make that claim.

The truth is, we're all in bed together, and the "real" poets know it. I remember meeting Bob Holman at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in the mid-1990s, back when he used to MC. Bob asked me where I was studying at the time; I told him Columbia. He'd spent his undergrad years at Columbia, which is notorious for its bootcamp core courses on classical western topics. His response: "Oh, yeah? I was shot out of that canon!"

Thanks for sharing, Greg!

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