A couple of years ago I went to a poetry marathon, which consisted of people reading for a few minutes each, back to back. I figured that I’d discover some interesting new local talent. Alas, the following poem (or unpoem) was the only thing to come out of it. For those with no sense of humor, this isn’t an indictment of the entire field of modern poetry. This is. Without further ado, here is the poem:
Me, me, me, me, I, I, I, I, here's some more stuff about me and I.
I'm not really a poet so here's a lecture about this thing I'm interested in. People walk away when I talk about this thing I'm interested in, but you can't because you're sitting and the door is closed.
This is a great poem, but all of you know that, because you're all in my poetry group and will cheer for my success in getting to be in the same room and read to you in a different location.
I didn't really have time during the last six months to prepare for this, so I wrote something on a piece of toilet paper on the way over, but I gave it to a homeless guy who needed toilet paper, and instead I'll read a piece about how I didn't get a chance to prepare. Yeah, meta. There, done.
Somewhere in this disorganized jumble of sheets are a few poems which I couldn't be troubled to find ahead of time, so I'll instead read this poem by someone else I came across in this morning's Times.
I don't really know much about writing or poetry, but wanted a standing ovation anyway, so I wrote about recent events from a perspective with which you are guaranteed to agree, and because we share this political affinity you will feel guilty for not showing solidarity if you do not give me a standing ovation.
I view poetry as a form of healing and catharsis. For me. I have no interest in you or your feelings or your time, so I'll just use the next several minutes as free psychotherapy which, multiplied by the number of audience members, is quite a bargain!
Bad things happened to me, and I'm sure they are much much much worse than the bad things which happened to you, and if bad things didn't happen to you then you come from a place of privilege and plenty and have no right not to appreciate my speaking about the bad things which happened to me, however ineloquently expressed.
Experimental cool brilliant deep profound smart ever-so-smart riveting novel unexpected gimmicky effective, now give me tenure.
This will move you, just like your poem moved me and I cried and applauded so hard when you read, and you'll do the same I know you will understanding how hard it is to be a poet and not know the things which actually would move you to cry and instead just tweet to all our friends about how brilliant you are so you'll do the same for me.
I'm really old and speak with an unmistakeably erudite diction, hence you will take my utterances for profundity, my errors for anachronisms, my idiosyncratic manner for the charming style of a bygone era, and my drivel for a mastery which never existed but the usages of age impute to me anyway.
Now, tell me, why can't we get more people interested in poetry? % to come to these things?