Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I should be picking up the new meditation newsletter from the printer in the next day or so. If anyone's interested in a sample, I'll send you one if you like. I know it's kind of an oxymoron--'meditation' 'newsletter', but community can form around anything, even a solitary practice. Imagine that.

Now where was I? Oh yeah. I was thinking about poetry and community. The discussion which flares up or down but never goes away. What purpose does community serve for us poets? I think one glanced-at quality community serves is to keep where your thoughts go communicable to others. It's a great ideal to want to peel of from humanity and develop one's own poetic, one's own language--to explore one's genius in a place completely alone. But the story usually ends with communal discovery and integration of what that hermit learned/did. The story ends that way, but for every Dickinson there's got to be hundreds who don't get discovered. The danger is probably greater for poets than for fiction writers. If you lose track of where fashion is at, you lose track of an important trajectory. So I think cultivating associations with like-minded poets serves to a) keep others appraised of why you do what you do, and b) reins in any growth which will simply not fit with what poetry 'is'. That is, keep you from looking not necessarily mad, but merely silly. It can happen, you know. And this function isn't necessarily a bad thing, we are communal creatures, though the great fear of decadence is a worthy one. That is, the system will always involve juice-pulling, but when that becomes the/a dominant definer of heirarchy, which I think from what I've seen it does pretty quickly, it's time to set up a new system. So maybe our social tolerance for avoiding the impulse of juice-pulling is what decides when certain poetics become exhausted, and not any internal reality inherent in said poetic being played out.

That said, community is such a fluid word, it means different things at different moments, and can run downhill in so many different ways, that the fact that it runs downhill is only one fact among many.

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