Wednesday, January 11, 2006

i don't get keats either

good morning ashraf,

it feels so good to roll out of bed after 11am. it's been a very very long time since i've had such an opportunity.

so poetry for you is your religious gap filler? i appreciate that. i don't know that it's ever filled that role in me. though like i said, i use it quite often to fulfill fantasy which, while not being the same, has a similar effect on the poet. your poetry is readable though, it's reachable, it's achieving something for the reader as well as for the writer. i can't be bothered with the kind of religious filler and exploration in poetry 14 year olds write, however, simply because it is all the same, because i wrote those poems when i was 14 too. it's like trying to really and truly appreciate the same smiling squigly family portrait a 5 year old would draw over and over, every kid does it. (this is, of course, different for parents whose child just drew his/her first picture in crayon, and i'll also admit that some of them can be rather charming, but so can crappy high-school love sonnets.) the difference is, perhaps, merely the fact that you have that much more story bubbling away inside you, wanting to reach out and resolve itself in words, in text. 14 year olds have thin broth, and glowing chunks of worth; you have a steady stew of words and ideas, there's an even flow, a dramatic tension. i love reading your poems, no matter what the intent, the content is admirable.

the trick behind the magic sentiment i share with you fully. though i'm not sure how to distinguish poetics from something like, say, a director's commentary on a film/dvd.

i watch a lot of horror films. i remember when i saw Dawn of the Dead for the first time, it was so disgusting. or even worse was Phantasm. the blood felt real, the limbs were really missing... that 'it's okay, it's just a movie' mantra didn't work, because it seemed so real! then i watched the "making of..." and now i know how they make that guys head come off and look so good, i know that it's butcher-shop left overs and corn starch and red dye and so on and so forth. yet, the magic isn't gone, it's just different. now instead of the urge to puke i feel the urge to sit closer and find the seems, figure out what they did and how; the edits, the make up, the computers... that's what i see now, and it's absolutely fascinating, really, but it's so different. sometimes i feel like a junky looking for a really good hit, because everything just tingles a bit, there's no high, no jolt. i see through just about every KNB effect (they worked on all the of the Dead films as well as Alien (i think), the Phantasm series, and other bits like Incident at Lockness and the new Masters of Horror series). so there's that... but then... what movies are really scary? i'm thinking... Alien scared me for days. i still get scared if anyone brings up Ju-on The Grudge (original japanese version, that is) in the dark, and David Lynch will always surprise me, stop my heart just long enough to make me feel alive.

so how is that any different from poetics? well, if you take PoemTree for example... poemtree's introduction doesn't tell you some of what my previous long email told you about The Pencil Graveyard for example. my revelation about the Green River isn't exploited in the introduction either. that was a religious poem if ever i've written one. and oh, how i'd love to go on and on about what it feels like to know something in your heart before you know it in your mind.

i look at poetics as more of a frame, the landscape, the surroundings of a poem or collection of poems. it may not be the first thing you notice when it's there, but when it's not, there's just something--that bit--that's missing. and it hurts the piece without it, whether you know it or not. i feel like poemtree is a stronger collection having had all that labor poured into it via the introduction. that took me months of research and long conversations with professors with a vernacular far superior to my own at the time. (and i can't wait to do it again!)

i don't want to tell everyone i write about that i wrote about them, i don't want everyone who reads my poems to know my fantasy or even know that it's based on a fantasy. those are my secrets. i will tell you one of them though... a is for ashraf.

thank you for getting back to me, thank you so much for sharing all those ideas, all those truths about yourself. i don't really get keats either, to be truthful, it wasn't until whitman that i began to understand poetry, and i still struggle there. it's wonderful to get to know someone, especially one with similar passion for poetry but for such seemingly dissimilar reasons.

thank you so much.



1 comment:

katy said...

i know it's a bit cheeky to be the first to comment on your own post, but i didn't want to tarnish the original email by pointing out what you could call a plot hole in my discussion.

when i'm going off on a tangent about knb and horror films that do scare me, i have NO IDEA what the heck i was on about. what was the point of that? not the whole argument, but the point about films that do scare me... the only thing i can think of is that those films i mention are ones that don't rely on visual effects to scare (they rely more on sound and tension).