Imaginary Brazilian Revolution

Brazil is a state of carefree serenity. Brazil is attained by forsaking sanity.

Return . . . I will . . . to old . . . Brazil.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Rant About Poetry, for Those Who Care

In every decade for the past two hundred years, every decade leading to this, there has been at least one poet to define the decade with simple, beautiful words. (Or in some cases, archaic, beautiful words.) The position of the poet in the world is to give some sort of definition to the general conciousness of the populace for their generation.

1900-1910- William Butler Yeats
1910-1920- Carl Sandburg
1920-1930- T.S. Eliot
1930-1940- Wallace Stevens, Dylan Thomas
1940-1950- William Carlos Williams
1950-1960- Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda
1960-1970- Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bukowski
1970-1980- Seamus Heaney, Octavio Paz
1980-1990- John Berryman (yes, good poetry was written in the 80's.)
1990-2000- Robert Pinsky

Now we await the poet of our fading decade. Here we are, 6 years into the two thousands and nobody has stepped forward to create a relevant poetic ouerve to immortalize this time and place in the scroll of recorded history. Good time for some quotes:

"The poet must write as the interpreter of nature, and the legislator of mankind, and consider himself as presiding over the thoughts and manners of future generations; as a being superior to time and place." --Dr. Johnson

"The money is everywhere and so are the businessmen. Poetry is everywhere, but where are the poets? What we need are poets!" --Fellini

Has our culture become so deadened to the over-publication of ideas, (i.e. THE BLOODY INTERNET) that we have lost touch with purity, with verse which defies mass consumption but rather serves as an underlying ideological backbone? Without a new poetry, without that commitment to the beauty of the idiom, we are doomed to get lost in this superficial, sound-byte culture.

Anybody aware of relevant verse being published? Where? Please help me. I'm getting depressed.


At 5/19/2006 2:43 PM, Anonymous Susan M said...

Have you ever heard of Billy Collins? He's the only current poet I've ever heard of. I saw him give a reading once and thought he was just ok.

At 5/19/2006 7:27 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Were these poets recognized as the definitive poet of their respective decades in the midst of the decade, or did they only gain that status in retrospect?

Do you see there even being any candidates for the title of poet of the 00's?

By the way, it's good to see you back in Brazil, my man. The joke was getting old. (You know--the joke where you take your fellow Imaginary Brazilian to task for inblogtivity (blogging inactivity) and then disappear and not leave a comment or write a post for over a month?) You did prove yourself as a comedic genius, however. A lesser comic would have only been absent for a week or so. You're the Andy Kaufmann of practical blog humor.

At 5/20/2006 11:30 PM, Blogger Standard Chuck said...

Billy Collins: not bad. How about some others who have been heralded recently, say the poet laureates, Kooser, Gluck, Collins, or Kunitz? What about the rising stars such as Tony Hoagland or Komunyakaa? Heck, what about some of the slam poets, Saul Williams, Brett Axel, or Miguel Algarin? The fact is that I coincide with Tom's is hard to judge art during the times in which it is being created. Many of the names that you mentioned in your "by the decade" review were not lauded as the voice of generation/decade until many years of criticism and revisionistic thought went into deifying their work. Therefore, it is too early to judge, and definitely too close to lament the death of poetry. The current work needs to gestate in the minds of the true poet conniseurs before a decision is made as to who truly is great...

Then again, it could be Busta Rhymes and then we'll know that poetry will never be the same again, G.

At 5/22/2006 7:48 PM, Blogger White Man Retarded said...

Music is my prose.

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