Little Emerson

19 August 2005

Poetry at the Boonies

Philip Gardner - Alone with my dreams

Blogs aren’t for me a consolation “for not living in a major metropolitan center”. Been there, thanks. But thanks also for the inspiration. Given the chance grow that beard—yes, ladies included, and run for them hills, as Bryan might say. When I killed Sea-Camel—and you can’t imagine the size of stone it took to sink that motherfucker—I did it because I became totally-totally discontent with the blog medium’s ass-kissing temperament. I had been corresponding with my friend Bino for some time on the subject and we agreed that “popularity” in the blog world as A.D. might define it, meant you did not rock the cradle too hard. Babies tantrum up. That was evident in my own posts, according to Bino, when nice talk that didn’t step on toes made for pleasant dancing. I, in fact, tangoed for some time. Mocking poets didn’t, however, make for pretty dancing, even if I meant it in that love-hate way. Bino eventually also killed his blog for similar reasons.

Infanticide may be sickeningly poetic, but it ain't nice. Perhaps that is why both of us rose from the ashes with separate excuses (I speak for myself) to return and create something. His was a blog about things no one could comment on again, something I missed dearly and something that hurts a blogger’s un-stroked ego. Mine was a blog about publishing something that could never be published. Interesting. I came back—though I never stopped reading my favourite blogs—for selfish reasons, primarily because I needed to know what was happening in American poetry today or Asian-American Poetry tomorrow or Puerto Rican Poetry yesterday. (So many things I disagree with and love at the same time.) I love poetry and I need to know about it. I cannot think of a better way for me to learn it. Living in the Spanish boonies I have no access to your sprawling bookstores and libraries. I know them. I also cannot get your magazines, your books. (I want to read your books though I may not like them.) And since I do not seek publication—not in that tell-me-I’m-a-great-poet way—what is it that keeps me here? I guess that I can’t help enjoying-disagreeing-hating-loving a Ron Silliman piece on the New York School, a Josh Corey piece on avant-new-pastoral, a C. Dale tip on publishing that I disagree with despite its logic and heartfelt advise, Karga on things no one else dare blog about or that Gabrial Gudding “MiPoesias” strange-issue I really liked but never mentioned. How else to correspond with people I have never met and whom I cannot even mention due to Little Emerson reasons?

That’s why I blog. Why would C. Dale or Ron, being so-called established and learned in their particular craft and style do so is beyond me, but I can understand how human they are. They are. (Curtis, much to my dismay, still doesn’t have a blog.) Guess we’re all selfish and obsessive in our little ways. It keeps us here, on the surface, cause way down deep may not be the best place for Sea-Camels to go to despite how much they hate poets and love poetry at the same time.


  • I am in the quintessential proponent of ass-kissing.

    By Blogger A. D., at Fri Aug 19, 06:31:00 am  

  • and that of extraneous words it seems as well

    By Blogger A. D., at Fri Aug 19, 06:33:00 am  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger C. Dale, at Fri Aug 19, 08:04:00 am  

  • A.D.,

    I hope you’re not referring to yourself. I would never put you into such category. We’ve discussed this before in our interchanges on “honest” assessment and constructive criticism vis-à-vis careerism and destructive interchanges. I gather all is valid in this kingdom. Of late we’ve seen some of the destructive kind so as time passes I tend to agree with you on a more positive-supportive approach to things.


    By Blogger A.R.B., at Fri Aug 19, 09:13:00 am  

  • Dear C. Dale,

    Well I do think it a shame that you should have taken your tips and advice off your blog. I think it was very good. My disagreements with some of your opinions were purely theoretical, never technical. Your advice was rather accurate and true, in my opinion, and bound to get people closer to publishing their work. I cannot fathom that some people may take offence to such uninterested advice whether they disagree with it or not.

    And you’re right, the blog world does offer or create a community not always available to us in our everyday lives. I think that Bryan of Karga noted recently how he cannot connect with poets from his own city, but can nevertheless develop interesting and worthy relationships with people from far away. Even further than that I think that blogging has become a window into far-ranging opinions and styles that can only help us understand what we love so much.

    And so here we are: San Francisco talking to little Palmeira. That’s significant. My concern has always been that these connections—magical in many ways, almost shamanic—maintain the degree of integrity that poetry deserves.

    Finally, I should point out that I consider you, as I do others, as “established”, not because you are published (some of my favorite poets remain essentially unknown to the public eye), but rather because you have a command of the tools necessary not only to create your own work but also to communicate your enthusiasm to others on your own poetry and that of others. That makes you “established” to me. It is what makes, say, Ron Silliman required reading because though personal opinion may be agreeable or unbearable it should never be confused with information wealth, talent and unwavering enthusiasm.


    By Blogger A.R.B., at Fri Aug 19, 09:35:00 am  

  • Alberto-

    I kid, I kid.

    No worries here.


    By Blogger A. D., at Fri Aug 19, 03:00:00 pm  

  • I like blogs because they allow me to have ideas & no personality, not body, no face, no spinach-in-the-teeth uncoolness that would probably get me ignored in most real live poetry circles. It's amazing to be able to have conversations with people & not have your self always in the way.

    I want to live in the boonies again. I'll never be interested in real physical poetic community. It's just too much for me. I like the anonymity of a black & white blog, thank you very much.

    I'm not sure how much my comments has to do with your post. But I still really like this post.

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