Sunday, September 13, 2009
Poetry and Football
I don't think poetry is information. It is not something that you use to get an advantage, to accomplish something, to make a profit. Indeed, poetry has little monetary value if any. Even a collection by a relatively well known poet is likely to printed in an edition of 2000 copies or less. (Still, as William Carlos Williams says in "Asphodel that Greeny Flower" poetry is not news but millions die every day for lack of what is found there. )
There have been times and places where poetry briefly held a very high value. It is said Neruda could fill football stadiums for a reading. Certain Russian poets held similar rock star status. The secret to such popularity seems to be political oppression and the poets' resistance to it. What drives the popularity is politics as much as/more than the poetry.
There have been other times and places. Historically poetry has often been tied to a group's cultural identity and/or to its religious ceremonies. (Another book to be written.) Today's poetry, in English, at least, has lost all such attachments. Poetry has been reduced to an expression of personal sensibility. (Fill in here a whole history of Romanticism. modernism, post modernism and whatever other "isms" you desire.) Poetry is intrinsically difficult (more on this another time) and most people have better, or at least other things to do.
On an entirely different note, Today is the first game of the Seahawks. For almost 30 years I have willing wasted 3 hours of my Autumn and Winter Sundays watching. Each year I begin the season with an unrealistic hope of success, and each season I am more or less disappointed. But here I am again, expecting great things. . . For any of you who hate football, I would say you are perfectly justified. It is a brutal game played by genetic mutants and is an enormous waste of money that could be better used. Still, if we had the money, I suspect we would not use it for better things (a few dozen tanks, a couple of fighter planes. ..) I started watching football about the time the Seahawks were formed so that I would have something to talk about with my forest service coworkers. (They were not so keen on talking about Jung or Nietzsche.) I became addicted to the game. For the most part, I limit my self to Seahawk games. I can set aside 3 hours, but 9 or 12 seems a bit much. So with every expectation that this is the season we return to the Superbowl, I look forward to this afternoon's game.