Jun 27

When Poets Gave Orders

"We order that the poets’ rights be revered:

  • To enlarge the scope of the poet’s vocabulary with arbitrary and derivative words (word-novelty).
  • To feel an insurmountable hatred for the language existing before their time.
  • To push with horror off their proud brow the wreath of cheap fame that You have made from bathhouse switches [clearer translation: "from toothpicks"].
  • To stand on the rock of the word “we,” amidst the sea of boos and outrage."
The above is from the Russian Futurists' manifesto, "A Slap in the Face of Public Taste," 1912. By comparison, our poets are people-pleasers and wusses. Each of these century-old demands is, for poets in 2008, a total taboo. We say, "I don't think your experiment with coining new words is very successful," and "I don't know where you'll find a market for this," and "If only I could make it into Best American Poetry 2009," and "I can't figure out who is that collective 'we' being referenced in your poem."

By comparison, how timid we are! And how powerless! Are those things linked?
Jan 22

Ways to Be Part of the Future

Do you write because you want to live forever? You can start on that right now.

1. Write poems? Post a poem or two on the Net at www.poemhunter.com. Sure, there are lots of poems on there. Sure, many are junk. But not all of them are. And yours certainly are better than most.

2. Have you published a book? Is it still in print? Every library system has an "acquisitions" librarian. Find the acquisitions page on the library's website and suggest the library acquire your book. You can suggest books for any library system you belong to. Ask your friends in other counties and states to suggest your book to their local and university libraries.

3. Have you written a book? Do you own the electronic rights to it? Can you turn the computer file into a pdf file? If so, you may upload and publish it as an eBook, for free, at www.lulu.com. People can then visit lulu.com, and find and download your eBook. You can also download others' books for free. eBooks are the way of the future. Get on the wagon now.

4. Help a young writer, a child or a teen. Just encourage them, no matter what they are writing, to keep on writing things. You know from your own experience that writers of any age can get a lot of mileage out of a few kind words.