Talk Back: Why Do You Write Poetry?
The focus for my first piece, "A Few Angles on the Page/Stage Poetry Quandary," emerged just after a colleague of mine launched an online discussion about outsider art and the art academy called "Ignorant Art vs. The Academy," which began as a blog post and manifested as a cut & paste print discussion at a venue in Reno that displayed two amazing artists—one a graduate from The Art Center, and the other a self-taught illustrator. Both artists have depths of raw talent, but their revisions and honing of skills make their work worth the discourse.
The brass tacks of that dialogue: there are plenty of perspectives on the subject of academic programs for the arts and self-learned arts—in all forms. Dance, visual art, poetry, the blends of accepted practices and styles—and the blends frowned upon. But people should get busy doing what they feel they need to do (or love to do). If that's in a classroom or workshop, great. If that's in a garage or an ally somewhere, keep it up. One of my stipulations: you need to study those who created before you. You can't remain ignorant forever and still expect success.
That conversation was focused on visual art, but it reinvigorated the same issue for me in the context of poetry. So if you read "A Few Angles on the Page/Stage Poetry Quandary," please continue the dialogue here.
I'd love to learn your thoughts on this page/stage quandary. If anything I've included has made you respond, question, exclaim, or guffaw at all, then please ruminate some more—and then continue this discussion in this blog.
Why do you write poetry? What do you value in poetry? Why? Why do you read poetry? Should poets who perform give up submitting to journals/publishers that publish "mainstream" poets? Should some poets be barred from the stage?
- Benjamin Arnold, Contributing Editor