February 2nd, 2008

The Struggle For Poetry's Soul

Walter Donway has an excellent article up on The Atlasphere: The Struggle For Poetry's Soul.  He asks:
What, then, is the post-modernist contribution to the art of poetry? Virtually all so-called serious poetry, today, is written in free verse. In other words, it dispenses with meter — dispenses with it as a matter of principle — and so attacks the very essence of what makes poetry poetry.
I have a few quibbles with that, but I think his thrust his dead on.  And, as he indicates, much the same holds true across the "serious" modern art forms.

Practitioners often start
By "pushing the limits" of art.
But the limits are long since crossed,
And the path to progress is lost.

Beauty and the Beast, Rebooted

How did I miss this before? Meredith L. Patterson wrote the funniest rhymed "part ye first" for Beauty and the Beast.
Perhaps you could go taint his food,
Or teleport him in the nude
Into some granny's living room,
Or show him dressed like Molly Bloom
On every channel's nightly news?"
She also manages to rhyme "D.H. Lawrence" with "Health Insurance".

There's also a short prologue to Beauty and the Beast, and a couple of other poems at the same site.

I actually got to meet Meredith once. She was on a cross-country drive, coming through Chicago, so we met for lunch, and talked poetry and programming.  As you can tell from this video, she is deep into tech.

As long as I've got her on my mind, I should mention that I've long admired a bunch of her other poems, like those here and here. I particularly like Deja Interpretation, which opens like this:
I cannot be postmodern. I'm too old.
Too old — at twenty — to accept the thought
Of words — and words alone, however bold —
Replacing things that are with what is not.
I don't know that she's written much poetry lately, but I do hope she returns to it someday.

For now, perhaps, she's in a mode
Of writing pure and sparkling code.