Someone I know posed the question "what else is there?" in response to a past diatribe I posted here , "No More Poems About Poetry". I replied, in a hurry, I admit, that
not everything spoken of in poetry need be funneled through a filter that refers to poetry .Poetry is meant to produce an experience through a heightened language that should,all the same,be plausible as speech.The reader should be brought inside the poet's discourse and convinced the experience was real,honest.Dependence on self awareness of form for ironic effect is,I think,a form of cheating.true,there are brilliant poets and poems about poetry.my gripe resides with the abuse of the ploy,which is pervasive and dulling.
The point of writing poetry and of reading poetry was to see to what extent language can be extended to include those perceptions and fleeting rushes of emotion and sensation that might otherwise elude our capacity to express; it is a way of knowing ourselves in a world of others. If poetry as subject matter needed to be an issue within a poem, a problematic quirk that needed to be contended with in the expression, I had always thought it should be in the struggle for a narrator to get beyond their own contingencies and possibly experience something that was not formed on them since before birth, Stopping the discussion with poetry as the subject with little effort to poke through the veil, or faith that this can even be done, is to allow oneself to remain chained to the cave wall.
No one and nothing escapes the history of the form which born them, but what's interesting in literature, poetry in particular, are the results from those daring to dream beyond their confines in what they write . Even if the matter concludes that no one gets out of here alive, so to speak, it remains that a consequence none the less that one , writer and reader, are made a little larger, are made a little braver for the experience of realizing lies beyond the mere sensation of what our skin receives. The reflexive thing, the pondering the very form one uses to create their tales, the structuralist take down of all narrative, poetry, play or novel, being the mere result of economic determinism, is something that charged a generation or two of poets toward some inspired work , but what it has turned into, I'm afraid, is something of a wallow; it lets the poet coast on the easy excuse that there really isn't anything outside the box after all and that we might as all stay home, watch porn or baseball and discuss the impossibility of sensing anything beyond the walls.
Even if it were true that poetry is implicitly connected to all other poems and poets, something I wouldn't dispute beyond a certain point, I find it ridiculous for poets to carpet bomb their poems with untoward, unprompted and needless mentions of other poets, of the form poetry itself, or that the writer is a poet in the company of other poets; while we may treat the whole issue of poems about poetry as an issue that is hopelessly meta, there remains a need, I think, for the poet to artfully tamp down his intellectual preferences and give his attention to what is job number one, of coming out of the clouds and presenting us with a perception that is unclouded by the overnight bags of history.