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My Rimbaud II

(Buried on a back page of this forum is a thread called My Rimbaud I wanted to bring it forward. But then I read the exchange that followed my initial post. Boy, did it turn ugly, and this between people who were once long time friends. Almost as bad as it gets. I can't imagine anyone would want to be subjected to such hurtfulness.

That said I want my friend's letter to be read, which pretty much got lost in the argument. Come to think of it the ensuing argument kind of proved a point she made in her letter.

I've copied and pasted the thread's starting post. It is centered around my Rimbaud's letter. She is someone I used to cavort with in poetry circles. What she said in her letter still stays with me. She finally, just like Rimbaud himself, walked away from the world of poetry. She couldn't handle, what she called, the poetry wars. I so miss her. She was a natural, born in the blood poet. Here is the starting post that includes her letter):

I have this friend of long standing. I think of her as my Rimbaud. Everyone knows the story of how he made brilliant and lasting poetry, all before the age of 18. And everyone knows that, soon after, he turned his back on European civilization to become a smuggler and gun runner in (I think) Asyria. But I don't think it is as generally understood that it wasn't just Europe he was turning his back on. It was also the contemporary poetry scene which he decided was rotten and not repairable. I am not saying my friend's poetry is necessarily brilliant. But she is remarkably gifted, a natural, and she has an extraordinary capacity for working in that pre-cognitive range. Her improv poetry always delights and sometimes is stunning. The more deliberately constructed poetry always follows its own interior logic and its language tends to the authentic, actually both in language and experience. And also in Rimbaud fashion she has all but turned her back on the online poetry scene and for similar reasons pointing to the sometime futility of dealing with critical readers. In fact, I am not entirely certain she still makes poetry. I seem to recall she told me a couple of years ago she had even given up on poetry writing. And again because of some pretty bad online poetry experiences.

I've asked for and received permission to post a slightly edited version of a recent letter from her. Edited to the extent of removing identifying information. It touches on something quite real. It touches on something P. brought up in her thread on gestalt concerning critics. D has touched on the same. And so have I. There is something oddly affecting about my friend's comments. It's kind of like an ingenue standing in the doorway, looking on the proceedings, scratching her head and saying I don't get. Or maybe like a visitor to the empire's capital uncomprehending of habits the inhabitants take as normal. Here is the letter:

~~ I visited your board and read some of your discussions, I will return and read more. I find it interesting.
Thing I find so strange is everyone wants to categorize poetry, take it apart, see what makes it what it is, perhaps that is why I never fit in any place, I take it at face value, its all about how it makes me feel. Maybe because partly I probably don't even read a poem like others do.
For example, I am still on X's mailing list, he publishes over and over again, someone always wants to do a new book of his works. He turns out poems by the masses. Some I find terribly boring he is so into the everything is "non reality" thing, Or whatever he calls it, yet now and then there is a poem that is so beautiful and real, you cannot help but be captured by the words.
Next some write a poem in ten minutes, others write a poem in 20 years, yet both can be beautiful.
Next there is the monster poet, who writes the most beautiful poems that flow like a sweet caress, they make one want to cry, he on the other hand is a real unfeeling ass as a human.
Or there was the kid in an old poetry room that read a poem one night, that everyone just panned to death, and I can't remember its title right now, but I still have it, because it touched me so deeply I thought it was wonderful.
There are some that say you must be a scholar to write a decent poem. Yet, I have seen beautiful poems written by the uneducated. I listen to Richard Burton on a poetry tape he did reading the old masters, and I swear that man could have read aloud Dick and Jane books and made them beautiful and poetic.
I cannot find the logic in: this is a real poem, this is not, this way is best, no this way is best, it is like an endless debate that never ends, with each person wanting to be the one who says what a true poem is and what one needs to be to write it..........
That wonder I remain confused........I would be a lousy contributor on your message board, because I cannot take things apart and talk of them that way never could, you know that already.
Still I enjoy the reads that were posted and I read.
Sorry for the long dullness, take care. ~~

Interesting and fresh, don't you think? I for one find myself thinking, I can't blame her for giving up on the scene. I don't know why it is some poetry readers, and none too infrequently, take the spirit out of poetry. Maybe some are motivated by the need to dominate. Others by the need to shape another's poem in their own image. Still others who feel they have to say something critical, no matter what it is, just in order to say something at all. But my friend is right. Much of what gets said about poetry posted is stupid. And, in my view, self-serving. It is no wonder that, on most boards, the majority of poets and poetry readers keep quiet much of the time. I also feel that the rule requiring so many comments for every poem posted devalues the exchange. I much prefer a quid pro quo arrangement between members.

Anyway, I know I am preaching to the choir here. But it can't be a bad thing to take in how a quiet spoke views the scene.


Last edited by Terreson, Sep/11/2011, 4:21 pm
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