Friday, August 05, 2005
I have read the recent thread with great interest. Recently I have been hitting some venues in Philadelphia, Jersey and New York. I mainly focus on writing short stories but do have an affection for poetry and have written a few here and there. Raisng the bar so to speak is one thing, poet to poet but the influx of slams and competetions has turned many a venue into a star search format, there are times I do think Ed McMahon may pop out and announce the winner. Poets have enough drama in their lives without the added drama of mine is better then yours bullshit. When I share my poetry at readings some may not like it but if one person enjoys it I do believe it is worth sharing, it may be that person I wrote it for.
The "competition" debate on Philly Sound has been fascinating, illuminating, and amusing. I'd like to present you my two cents. I feel that Frank is correct on one level; a certain amount of competitive energy can "keep (a poet) sharp". I also agree with you that personal relationships suffer when competition gets too "hot and heavy". What I think is being tested here is our ability as poets to separate ourselves from our work. If I can see you "as a person" on one level and "as a poet" on a separate but equal level, than we can forge a relationship that's growth-oriented, that contains a healthy element of competition which we both appreciate. Think of Pound and Williams, Kumin and Sexton, Ginsberg and Corso, Shelley and Byron. These all emerged as formidable partnerships, grounded in love and respect, but motivated by poetic growth and development. These poets were all able to pursue these partnerships on many levels at once. They had a healthy connection to their work; some attachment, some detachment. It's the Buddhistic "Middle Path" come to life in art & its' contingent on being able to draw clear psychological & spiritual lines. This is personal, this isn't. I think we should all take up the challenge of competition when it's offerred in the spirit of love and by desire for poetic growth.