Sentimental Poetry with Anthony Watkins (NEW!)
Featured Poem of the month
Of seed and spine, we climb
Cops in cherry tops speed.
more than ink.
more than a one side sheet.
Who’s written as penned in?
We’re much more
than what we breathe out.
War chatters our teeth.
We’re far from each other.
But souls are in between.
Together, our lives shout.
And read more than ink.
More than fonts
that electronically blink.
Joe Bisicchia writes of our shared dynamic. An Honorable Mention recipient for the Fernando Rielo XXXII World Prize for Mystical Poetry, his works have appeared in various publications. His website is www.widewide.world.
Photo by Krishna Evans
Ron Silliman is, as the Poetry Foundation Profile states,"An influential figure in contemporary poetics, Ron Silliman became associated with the West Coast literary movement known as “Language poetry” in the 1960s and ‘70s.
He edited In the American Tree (1986), which remains the primary Language poetry anthology, as well as penned one of the movement’s defining critical texts, The New Sentence (1987)."
We will ask him, not only about Language Poetry, his philosophy of poetry and writing, but about his thoughts on modern poetry and modern poets, many of whom are or were his friends.
BTS: This question possibly reflects my ignorance in general but I am curious and I think some of our readers might be curious because you were extremely knowledgeable and you've given lots of thought to kinds of questions about poetry. How much help or harm do you think is done to a poet through education? I mean given where you come from the language poets, is the outsider person more useful to the conversation about poetry or are they just ignorant people who get in the way? Maybe I'm asking this question wrong or maybe it's the wrong question and you're welcome to tell me either.
RS: I believe there is such as folk poetry, a poetry written by people who do not read much poetry and have no interest in any of the (always contested) canons. Cowboy poetry, fisherman poetry, a lot of slam/spoken word/hip hop (although not all), some of the sentimentalist poetics around works like Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey. None of that is objectionable to me in the slightest -- there will be people who get introduced to poetry that way and some of them will go on to do interesting things. There is a wonderful book about the role of poetry among Yemeni nomads, a society in which people need their horse, their rifle and their ability to compose poems under competitive conditions. The role of the poem is always conditioned by the society that we find ourselves in. So I have no problems really with outsider poets -- I have real affinities with some of that -- and I have none really with what I think of as the administrative poetics of the MFA mills. Not my thing, maybe, but, hey, why not? There is no one right way.
* Due to various issues, all of them my fault, we were not able to get our planned August interview with UK "Standup Poet", Steve Pottinger completed by our self imposed deadline. We will either put it up in a few days or save it until September, Either way, we hope you enjoy a second look at Ron Silliman's thoughts here .