Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Muddle


I am not against difficulty, I am not in favor of dumbing down poems in order to attract larger readerships, and I don't think the non-specialist reader insist, as a class, that poets have their wear as unadorned as sports writing. The gripe is against the poet who cannot get away from making Poetry their principle subject matter, by name. Not that each poem about poetry is, by default, wretched; there are bright and amazing reflexive verses indeed, but they are the exception to the rule, the rule being that a medium that ponders it's own form and techniques and ideological nuances too long becomes tediously generic.

 The problem, it seems to me, is that some writers who haven't the experiences or materials to bring to draw from will wax on poetry and its slippery tones as a way of coming to an instant complexity. It isn’t complexity, though, since  something that is complex can , with effort and expertise, be unpacked, bit by bit.  What is achieved, though, is something we call a muddle, a confluence of ideas that lacked salient clarity to begin with and which are not fitted together in terms of making a working relationship toward a more developed structure but instead piled one on the other, like half read magazines in a waiting room. Connections between what is superimposed over the other are ironic, at best, and always unintentional. One could manufacture a theory about the clutter, make it it conform to the particulars of some nested set of buzz phrases that produce more clouds than sunshine, but then the theory becomes more important that what it was supposed to bring to conversational exchange.   Rather than process a subject through whatever filters and tropes they choose to use and arrive at a complexity that embraces the tangible and the insoluble, one instead decides to study the sidewalk they're walking on rather on where it is they were going in the first place.

 I rather love ambiguity, the indefinite, the oblique, the elusive, and  poetry can be ruthlessly extended in it's rhetorical configuration to encompass each poet's voice and unique experience; the complexity I like, though, has to be earned, which is to say that I would prefer poets engage the ambivalences and incongruities in a sphere recognizable as the world they live in. First there was the word, we might agree. But those words helped us construct a reality that has a reality of it’s own, and I  am more attracted to the writer who has tired of  spinning their self-reflexing tires and goes into that already-strange world and field test their language skills.