Thursday, August 04, 2005

Poetry's Vessels 

Frank, I agree completely, jealousy and competition are two different things.

The task of keeping the two things both defined and checked takes some courage, in a sense. I mean if a friend is really just a "friend" and the jealousy is more of the plate, then we need to have the courage to salvage (meaning work it out, show them what's going on), or if that's not possible, step away. I'm all for stepping away from people at this point in my life if all they want to do is lie, cheat and steal. In the end it's their problem for not seeing how friendship can help build poems in the way you mention Frank.

One of the things I'll always remember about La Tazza is the day that one of those newspaper articles was printed with some group of Philadelphia poets I don't even know about slammed PhillySound in an interview, and you said Frank, "La Tazza is a scene, but with a small 's,' so show up, and you're it." This is where the idea of mutual aesthetic comes in, shared ideas, in other words, friendship from these things. I mean, isn't that HOW friendships are forged in the first place? So, there's friendships among poets, who write and read and share and hammer out new places for one another to take their ideas and poems, and that's not a bad thing, and it's certainly not something that exists to shut out others, or to demean what they're doing. But it's perceived this way. And it's something you just have to confront, or live with, or live with while confronting. It's so silly, and it seems like such a fucking waste of time. A big fucking waste of time.

Or is it a waste of time? Sometimes if I can be patient enough to step back at such moments it seems like it's THESE VERY conflicts where the things I am writing about (or in some cases TRYING to write about) come alive, almost like the conflict exists as a huge micro(macro)scope for the poem's way to life beyond the page I'm scribbling. It's like a friend some years ago said to me, "I need to go away for a while to a Buddhist retreat, get away from these people at work, and really BE with my karma." And I said, "Well, I'm no Buddhist, but isn't your karma what you're BEING with these coworkers you have so much grief with every day?" Where am I going with this? I don't know. Oh...

...Will, one of the things you had questioned was the quote of Anselm, quoting Alice Notley. That's important, because all tone was lacking in my use of that. In the end, what she had been saying that for was to point out to her son that conflict has its merits, that love has a way of existing in many forms. That's what I heard, when I heard it. And it's funny, him telling me that quote in the first place, because it came at a time when there was a lot of bullshit going on around me with poetry. It was a good thing to hear.

Let's keep this thread going, it's got so much more gas in it. I don't have the time to go into much more this morning, but there are a bunch of things I want to question, and share.

NOTE: I've received a couple of e-mails from others, responding to this conversation on competition. If you're interested, send me either permission to post your e-mails, or maybe you want to send a different one? It's up to you of course.


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