Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pearls before swine...

This article reminds me of those CDs with titles like "Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music!" After mentioning Anna Akhmatova's magnetic influence in Russia, it goes on like this:

If you grew up in America, it might surprise you to learn that a poet has ever had that sort of impact. Poetry here is best known for the simple, sentimental verses found in Hallmark cards and the lyrics of pop music. The word "poet" probably calls to mind some weirdo in a beret. And poetry's power to influence American politics is, at best, a fizzle--if you heard anything about the anti-Bush anthology Poets Against the War, then you listen to a lot of NPR. The truth is most Americans have lost touch with the best of what poetry is: a record of some of civilization's greatest writers--and wisest people--taking on the questions and emotions that define us.

Then follow three dorky reasons why Americans don't read poetry:
Reason 1: I've never understood it.
Reason 2: I can't get past the whole rhyming thing.
Reason 3: Poetry is for angst-ridden teens, hopeless romantics and the aforementioned weirdos in berets.

I just don't get it. What is the point of articles like this? Sometimes I feel like giving up on American English and learning Farsi or Arabic or Urdu, because that's where the action is right now.


Santiago said...

Chocolate is good even if nobody is eating it. Though I guess we all want a few friends to share the chocolate with.

some guy on the street said...

Sing, O Meredith,
Sing to God,
Sing His praise,
Sing for His love,
Sing joyfully in His salvation,
Sing of all His works,
Sing God the Word of God,
Sing with all His saints and Angels,
Sing that all who hear hear God
And sing with you!
Tolkien and Lewis wrote the books they wanted to read and no-one else wanted to write. I think you do OK for poetry reporting.

Honestly, a reporter who thinks Americans don't get poetry must not appreciate how many Americans get Isaiah and the Psalms and ... such reporting isn't worth the time it takes to read!