Thursday, July 28, 2011

If This Is the 21st Century, then I Hate the 21st Century

I've been to more than my fair share* of poetry readings in this city in the past 5 years, and, they're always a mixed bag. Unless you know, going in, exactly who you're seeing, it's pretty much a crap shoot. I've seen some really amazing poets (ross gay, I'm looking at you), totally unmemorable poets, and some awesomely bad ones**.

However, the one I attended last night had a poet who managed to evade all of my categories, and landed himself into the poets I would never see read again if paid a jillion dollars, and plan to throw out the book he gave james as soon as I'm done writing this blog post category. I won't mention his name, or link him, because I don't think his website deserves the hits. By way of explanation, I'll say there is plenty of poetry that I don't like, or that doesn't work for me, but I don't feel ill-used by listening to it. I felt subjected to this person's "work". Rattled and shocked for no purpose and to no end. It was ugly, horrific violence with no meaning at all. No end in mind. Just this selfish pursit of ugliness.

I am loath to ever call a piece of art valueless. Value is near impossible to identify, and differs so much from person to person. However, today is a special day, and I'm making an exception. This "poetry" was valueless. Without value.

About halfway through the reading, he paused, considering whether to read a poem, and asked, as though testing the audience, "This is the 21st century, right?"

I'd rather live in the middle ages.

*note: everyone's fair share of poetry readings differs from person to person, but it averages out to be about 3 over a lifetime.

**i actually really love embarrassingly disclosing confessional poetry. and if it's read directly from a leather bound journal, so much the better.


  1. ahheeemmm... is this thing on... hi. i, uh... i have a poem i'd like to share. It's called:
    'Ode to Ice Cream'
    i like ice cream a whole lot.
    it tastes good when days are hot.
    on a cone or in a dish,
    this would be my only wish:
    vanilla, chocolate, rocky road
    even with pie-a la mode.
    (speaker feedback-eeeeeEEEEEEEE)... thank you.

  2. Well said, Annie...well said.

  3. Thanks. Both of you. That really puts it all into perspective.