Poetry is an art that poses as much difficulty and requires as much work as any other – I mean when you’re talking about the good stuff. But it seems like the only one that there is no such thing as ‘making it’ or hitting the big time. Sure they’re all tough. But you have the few who rise and become heroes or represent heights to shoot for – like someone becoming interested in the guitar, there’s a wealth of greats of all styles who are also known outside of the circles of people who are into guitars and guitar music.Who doesn’t know who Jimi Hendrix is?
I’m still slowly learning my way around and studying some of the greats who’ve gone before. Became aware of John Ashbery. New York School. Really like what I’ve read so far. An obvious amazing facility with language, words, images… wordsmith extraordinaire. Read something where he says it took 10 years to sell all 800 copies of his second book. Find and read someone like Wallace Stevens. More amazing stuff. Hardly understand a thing he’s saying. But there’s something There. Sounds. And composition. Like music. On the surface just words but a lot more than just words. Yet he had an insurance job or something. Very few people who are not interested in poetry know or care anything about Wallace Stevens. Or John Ashbery. Or any poet well known amongst poets. Then again, you never hear of people in insurance sitting around talking about famous insurance people, “man that Wallace Stevens. Such incredible insurance work he did. Yeah we’re still trying to figure out what he was doing.”
So the only reason anyone would get so into poetics is a love of words and creating worlds of microcosmic and gargantuan dimensions with those words. Or trying to. Or wanting to. Drawn to. And that’s the bitch. Knowing that no matter how hard you work, it’s going to be even harder to find what the work wants, which is a few readers. I mean it’s hard, fucking hard, to come up with stuff and try to hammer or chisel or paint it or compose it into something not only half-interesting but… but… hm…. performs. Yeah that’s it. Performs. You don’t know. You just try. Many times they flop. Once in awhile, they shine. Good news-bad news: whether flop or shine, the more poetic it is, the less people will know about it. Good news-bad news.
Okay I think I finally got it out of the system and shall shortly return to the hammering and chiseling and trying. And I assure you, if you are a reader who likes any of my stuff for any reason… I love you. I love you so much. Make me your workhorse.