Monday, April 18, 2011

Why I Am Not A Poet

For awhile I hated poetry because I didn't understand it.  All poetry was sensitive glitter, reserved for smug, self-important assholes, who were haughty and deep.  Like Linda Lovelace.  Or dungeons.  Or secret dungeons.  Or French people.  French people who locked their souls in secret metaphorical dungeons, where their poetry was chained and whipped daily because it plundered baguettes, tongue-kissed Madame Dupont, and took the road less traveled by, but someday we will have jaunty berets (je ne sais pas) and be free from le tyrannical aristocracy, oui?  Tres bien!  Louis!  Richelieu!  VIVA LA REVOLUTION!

So...that's what I think about when someone says "poetry."

One day, I discovered what became my favorite poem.  Another day I went to France. You know what? I like smug and glittery when the constituent is sardonically aware of its own narcissism (this is more prevalent in poetry than in France). 

And about half the time, that's what it's like over at From Quiet Thoughts.  Brown is a poet from San Francisco with dreamy bedroom eyes, thoughtfully propped up against a pillow in his profile picture looking pensive and bored, as if porn just doesn't get him off anymore since the internet made it all socially acceptable to jerk it all the time. He could so be French, especially with all the cigarettes and wine.

Honestly, I fucking love about a third of his poems, I want to edit the hell out of another third, and the rest?  Fucking dungeon, like he's trying to be a poet instead of just being poetic.

Because sometimes, this happens:
About Me:  Increments of time, attach themselves to light, creating impassioned pixels of reality. We are what we see, feel and hope.
which sounds like lyrics to low-fi-electro-indie-rock and other things that are trucked with hyphens and pictures of mustaches that lack any real hair. What does this say about Brown, as a person?  We're just particles fueled by our perception of reality, who can really know anyone, and if you can't figure it out then you don't deserve to know and all that priggish bullshit and SHUT THE HELL UP.

Which means Brown is a cheater.  Fuck that distant, vague crap.  He should do it better because I know he can, even though sometimes he could benefit from an editor, a little more self-awareness,

and a little less of that thing, you


That thing that "poets" do, where lines are
for no apparent reason, although
the idea is free verse
and the pauses between phrases can be inconsequential and

the result
is annoying.

I'm a big fan of Rodin (OMG YOUR PROF PIC MATCHES YOUR HEADER OMG), so the header is fine, but poetry thrives on suggestion, aesthetics, and rhythm. Brown excels at the first, does a good job at the second, and needs to work on the third. Part of aesthetics is not just avid prose, but how the poem looks, and honestly, that template reminds me of fungus.  Stop feeding shit to your template.  Pick a paler, less offensive green for the words - that alone will improve things. Think about flow and meter.  You know how to write.  Do it better. 

I applaud the flows of nonsense because he's practicing his attack.  Sometimes the prose is a bit awkward and clunky, but he's exercising and I respect that, despite the overt naval-gazing, mostly because there isn't a lot of filler.  There's just good and bad practice.  Sometimes his spelling is fucking barbaric, he does the "your/you're" thing and if that shit is intentional to prove a point, like we're too hooked on grammar as a society or something, or if you purposely substituted "poured" with "pored" as a play on words, know this:  that doesn't make any fucking sense, but I'm over it, because I read that one about the snail about 500 times.

I'm a sucker. 

               for effort and skill, but

   because sometimes he sounds like he's trying to be a poet instead of just being himself.


  1. I dunno. I am lazy with poetry. I liked it when I was writing it for my English degree, but it has to be some special shit for me to bother reading it now.

    Some of his poem don't even need to be poems - they would be better as prose and seem less wanky.

    That is all.

  2. thanks for the review. I can't spell worth shit, never have been able too. part of the problem is, i think, the spelling of some words is horse shit. for instance: a "gh" has no business complicating neighborhood. i'm glad you found the green obtrusive, in a purely visual world, color can play a significant roll in diction-you know this (insert power red behind black and white figure)

  3. The thing that annoys me about most poetry is its deliberate indirectness. Why does everything have to be a riddle wrapped in an enigma etc etc? Just say what you mean! I realize that this makes me a Philistine, and I'll write you a poem the day I give a shit. I've only read a couple of his poems. Interestingly one was about effective communication. I don't know what it was called because I can't read his titles on that background. I could make a simple effort and highlight them so they stand out more, but frankly, why would I do that?

  4. Oh, and that snail joke is really old. Funny, sure, but old. Does this constitute plagiarism? Or is it merely a stylized way of saying "here's a joke that I love"?

  5. Unsure. The joke seemed familiary(hence the "I'm a sucker" bit) but I don't give a shit.

    And I like poetry, I really do, as long as I can just read it and enjoy it for pleasure of words. It's when they put an enigma in there on purpose that it seems pretentious.

  6. And Grumpy, I disagree entirely: I think they're more effective as poetry.

  7. Mostly because it takes balls to take your prose and turn it into poetry, since so many people fucking hate it.

  8. "Fucking dungeon, like he's trying to be a poet instead of just being poetic. "

    And you just revealed to me the exact reason I dislike most poetry.

    Oddly enough, I actually enjoy poetry and verse that has strict rules, like haiku and limerick. It reminds me of programming: you have to work hard to be clever with what you're given.

  9. Each to their own Shiny. I dunno. Perhaps Brown has inspired me to chuck some of my old poetry up. Or not. I'll think about it.

  10. I also enjoy
    the occasional haiku,
    if constructed well.

  11. Guuuyyssss... I get sad every day that there's not a new post. REVIEWS ALL DAY EVERY DAY 25/7.

    I guess I like reading blogs about blogs. Also having someone else do the work of separating the wheat from the chaff.

  12. (dungeon)

    Y'know when you look at a word so many times that it loses all meaning, and then you create your own alternate meaning for said word, writing yourself into and out of corner after corner until you've soaked the printer-paper you're using with the sweat of your effort, the smears of your copiously-spilled ink staining your forearms in the press-pattern imprints of inexplicable design, spreading like porous, flat flowers across your pulsing veins and settling into pools of black slop in the valley of your inner-elbow, the optimistic liquid, then brimming with hope when trapped inside the pen, now staring spent, useless, baleful from the crook of your arm as though the void it represents is somehow indicative of your failure as not only a writer, but also as a sentient, compassionate human being?

    Yeah. Tricycle does that to me.

  13. NJ, you're the only one who understands me. Because you GET IT. do, don't you?


  14. And Nano, thanks - we're a little tired right now. We're trying.

  15. I totally get it.

    "It" being a fire-engine made of conjugated verbs trained to salivate when Laurie spoons Dreiberg, yes?

  16. Why, Mr. Dreiberg. You're ravishing.


Grow a pair.