The Death of Poetry: and the rise of the Instapoets
THIS POST WILL UPSET A LOT OF YOU. I expect nothing but your most vituperative dissent in the comment sections. Enjoy.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who takes even a perfunctory glance that their first notice in the artistic discipline, before any else coming from the wide total of its offerings, will be of Poetry, the once solemn figurina of romantic virtue, now molted of her flowers and collapsed, clenching her pale soul between tired gritty teeth. This is not an attention inviting any real doubt; instead, a conclusion which I trust my peers, studied and brimming with the keen intuition of their professed craft, have observed themselves. Indeed, She is a subject over which the sepulcher-lid has slid long before any of us here can be said to have been born—an affair whose example recounted (by Orwell) imparts the same uncontroversy as when it was originally written:
‘There can be no doubt that in our civilization poetry is by far the most discredited of the arts, the only art, indeed, in which the average man refuses to discern any value’
Surely, poetry has come far to fall since the Muses inspired the first blind-man’s tongue to sing splendid verse, ushering his music, from there, along its way on careful course to those heights of the English-speaking Tutored countryside. Reading poetry today, in its pitiful decrepitude, picked and plundered to an unrecognizable incompleteness, one sees a disgraceful mimicry that does not yet approach even parody in its utter lack. She is a fragile heritage now preyed on in imitation by casual passers-by and the ungracious laity so wholly ignorant of any poetic sense; their paltry imitations only good for the recognition that to modern man all art is low art, no more to him than what at bottom is his panem et circenses, unaware and indifferent of Her succumbing to the full drop of dust-bitten disrepute.
If civilization discredits poetry, it is right to do so, for it has waned to a meaningless mockery of the name, bearing none of the likeness to a history so proud and statuesque—and I do not mean a remote history either. But if I were to take this line, I recognize that I would be getting on the wrong side of the problem: civilization does not discredit poetry because the art—as a form and method of composition—is unworthy; rather, poetry has become unworthy because civilization has forgotten how to discern any value from it, and by those means, hold it to the account of its artistic richness.
I am referring to the populist Instapoetry movement that passes as art in a society which cannot be said to have even a cursory familiarity with verse, let alone have been taught its significance in the English classroom. The written is unlike any other art, the more because most uncivilized people do happen to stumble into a gallery then and again or stop to photograph some “beautiful building” on vacation. This is the distinct disadvantage of literature: it cannot be passively observed, and none of its value is accessible on the face of it, as is so with the visual works—it must be read, and painfully at that, to get at what is therein ‘embalmed and treasured up’ (Milton, for the curious). How convenient then that Instapoetry comes in a prewritten masturbational package, neatened of any deeper intelligence and openly glutting the illiterate tastes, made digestible by an absurd reductionism from literary to depictive. By this I do not just mean the ridiculous visual accompaniments underneath every post and printed page—a recriminating fact in itself, for which picture can be more forcefully drawn or excised in evocative shape than the one composed in poesy?!—but I am also inciting the very method of the forgery, which takes reading to the closest shores of seeing, whereby one has less so to read and study the words than he has to simply look and see them—and this last part can be done with a thumb in your mouth for additional comfort.
Punctuation without any conscious sense, scarcely used effectively, if ever properly; too often invoked against itself to abortive or gaudy hyperbolic ends. A dissolution of the capital letter for the sake of it, because it is novel and naughty: this is not a reinvention of the rules for a definite poetic purpose that uplifts and elevates the technique, unassimilable from the nature of the lines themselves—rather, it is titillation and amateurish posturing. Meter? Never counted or considered, unless it be that one in the remembrance of a popular nursery rhyme—maybe the only proper pasteurization left for our diet of Milk and Honey. Metrical feet trampled about the page unawares, for no discernable reason, strewn together in incognisance;
sometimes at the beginning, other times at the end,
or perhaps starting new lines arbitrarily. In the unmeaning amusement of being rid of any endowed structure, (remember that ‘modern’ in today’s terms is a blank refusal of any formal institution whatsoever) do the Instapoets unwittingly forge the trammels to their own poetic freedom. Not to mention the pathological addiction to the swear word (Fuck, shit, crap etc.) as the favorite of all their flash; more so (and this is impressive) than their repetitive vomiting of depressive sexual encounters and self-motivational gall. Swearing to provoke interest or depth, which compacts a majority of the cases, is a cheap recommendation for actual poetic accent, forgoing hard-won sophistication for the lowest pandering to an audience who, if they are so impressed, is not worth the loss in integrity to relate to. These are the primary characteristics, according to my own abilities to see into the matter, that give the essential quality to Instapoetry, an anti-poetic force of the kind severe in its unconsciousness and monomanic in the aesthetic reproduction of the cultural masses.
“Art is subjective! There is no way to measure good from bad.” I hate to have to say that whoever avows this short-sightedness immediately betrays there having no acquired sense of what art actually consists of. The more one is steeped in the voluminous manuscripts of the classical oeuvre, to take from it according to his particular wont, yet absorbed by the effort in translating its consummate lesson, the more he cultivates a sensibility about art itself, attaining quickly the sensitivity to a high and low manner, to a great and poor style. And if by a lengthy effort to that end, does he come into his long-awaited expertise, calling on for confidence in his chosen artistic field the many labours and hours of investigation that compelled him, for his prize and due reward he will have the distinct pleasure of walking into any bookstore in America to see before him under Arts and Letters a miserable corner of Shakespeare (the only sole survivor) crowded out by the protruding belly of those shelves, in endless supply, of a “poetry” no better than the vining paroxysms of a pubescent diary.
What does this all have to do with the English classroom? The English classroom is perhaps the last bastion against the increasingly absorbing program of ‘democratic education’ whose focus is both industrialization and specialization, aspects particularly designed to cull the scientific intellect. Instapoetry is but a taste of what will happen to the arts if we continue in this way, where there is increasingly no societal value left for things other than the technologic. In many ways, the English classroom is lashed into submission by this mechanisation of culture, but too does it enable it by failing a proud protectionism over its singular monopoly of training and teaching the mind to think: no other subject, especially at the highschool level, can make this claim for itself. It should not be embarrassed of its esoteric achievements, and the seeming irrelevance of which it is accused of from a world whose majority will always be ignorant of its utmost importance. The living tradition begins in the English classroom, but it is a fragile teaching that requires an even stricter discipline in a time when any thought worth holding must be shown to be able to be turned to some economic account.
On this platform I’ve heard the criticisms of the modernised mind: picking through the lines; analyzing every word; scrutinizing the meaning of a passage and dissecting it for tone and timbre—that these activities in some degree tire out the study of English. But these are the happiest instruments of literature and critical analysis, the ones which transform a poem to the immortal embers deposited deep at the bottom of the soul; these are the very tools of one’s enlightenment, whose applications are endless and need have no sense of shame about themselves. There is a limitless joy in wrapping both hands around a poem and forming such an intimacy with each and ever word, to touch its essential texture and fabric—for what you are actually feeling is in fact the very allusive substance of life.
This is not a comment on English teachers, to be sure, nor any specific English classrooms across the millions in this country. If anything, it is an invocation to the teachers and classrooms that know the fundamental value of their subject, and who are right in their fear of its dying in our culture so hideously against its own illumination, to cloister the dim flame of life in their delicate custody, and with their gentle care, alight the wick in the minds of precious youth, so that they may carry it forward into the darkness of all their working days.
I might really do it this time.
Why should i see another sun?
what is wrong with me that no one wants to be around me?
why am i even here.
and even when people like me
i spend too much time trying to figure out why.
i Just hate how slowly the moments drip by.
like molasses in Alaska.
even if the plan is “dystopian nightmare”
or “utopian daydream”
I’m losing the sense that any of it is worthwhile.
the socks are stuffed.
I’ve had enough.
just like that time we road tripped
and the dogs slept so peacefully in the backseat
you were so tired yet you got us home safely;
time to lay down to sleep in the passenger side once more.
Take me home.
A Sad Time In Our Lifetime
Let's face a fact. Science isn't political. Science is science. Science goes to the heart of facts, based on hard evidence, not hearsay. I hear all this talk about how the vaccine is a plot. Conservative media, certain politicians, downplay the need and there are people who buy into that notion. Shame on them.
The vaccine gives you a chance to live. Metal won't stick to your face. It's not Russia, China or India, our own government, or whatever; what this is, is a failure to trust in what works. For you, your family, your friends.
Over 612,000 died from Covid had no say because there was no vaccine. I am willing to bet if they hadn't died, they would be the first ones at a clinic begging for the vaccine in order to live.
To all the naysayers, I wish you well and hope you don't get ill, especially with Delta on the rise. But dammit ... have trust, have faith, and stop listening to false news that says you will be just fine without it.
Truth is: you won't be. Just ask the parents who have lost a total of 300 kids to the Delta variant. 300 kids that will never have the chance to grow up.
We all know this feeling
Alarm rings. I look up from my pillow, groggy. I press dismiss. I lay my head down once more, sleep arrives. A smile spreads across my face. "Shut up alarm."
holy days sing their refrain
because of the night
Oh peaceful sunrise,
you too sing with grace and ease
because of the day
Days turn into years,
years into millennia
and all ages end
after boisterous clouds dispersed, elegant fable gambling honour insurrected journals; knocked lies. mumbling noises on pavements quivered, rising sun tinkled ukele, vulnerable words xeroxed; yielding zest.
Breast-Pumping Sucks. (A Testament To It’s Efficacy.)
Alright, this may be embarrassing for younger or more masculine readers, but, here goes:
When I was breastfeeding (I’ve done it 4 times to varying levels of success) I had huge issues with over-supply. I’d have one little 8lb baby to feed and my breasts thought I was supposed to be supplying enough milk to feed a field of cattle. Seriously, it was terrible; my knockers were so full that they were rock-hard which made it much more difficult for the miniature-human to latch-on properly. It got to a point where I’d hold baby up to my breast and milk would literally squirt in her eye. The leaking was crazy too, I’d soak a breast-pad straight through to the bra in less than an hour. But the worst of it was mastitis. Never fully emptying meant plugged milk-ducts, which meant inflammation, horrendous pain, and the highest fever I ever ran in my life (105 °F).
Of course all this over-supply stressed me out, and stress hormones lower milk production (maybe the human body knows what it’s doing from time to time, go figure...) But then of course there became the opposite problem: Not enough milk. The possibility of unintentionally starving your offspring is obviously even more stressful than squirting her in the eye with your overzealous supply, so I produced even less, which stressed me out more, which made me produce less. You see where this is going, right?
...Yup: oversupply again. What can I say? I’m a natural.
At least I’d figured something out: Breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t be too stressed out. But they shouldn’t be completely stress-free either.
Add to this already whacked-out hormonally-terrifying nature-inflicted mess a looming job you have to go back to in order to keep your baby’s health-insurance coverage (yay for equal-opportunity employment!) Cue the separation anxiety, maternal misery and ever-lingering milk supply issues.
So while I was back at work I obviously switched to breast-pumping to alleviate my swollen mammary glands. I worked in a hospital (best place for breast-feeding working mothers btw) so they had pumps up in the lactation department which they let me use for free on my breaks. I’m so grateful to those lactation ladies. And I have to give the pumps credit; they did their job with pride (and strangely comforting mechanical noises). I was finally relieved; my pendulous jugs were as empty as Santa’s sack on a successful Christmas morning.
Now, breast-pumps have their draw-backs, don’t get me wrong: There’s the bottles and flanges to wash out and sanitize each session, the milk-storing dilemas, the unknowable and highly sensitive milk re-heating time intervals (trial and error tip: you can just give it to ’em at room-temp as long as they take the damned liquid.) not to mention the difficulty of finding the proper setting and/or flange-size (not a one-size-fits-all-nipples situation, unfortunately.) But far more importantly, it’s said that breastfed infants develop social skills quicker and are generally better adjusted, and there’s truth to be found in that. If you’ve ever had your baby pull off your breast to grin up at you like a soppy little doe-eyed milk-bandit you’ll understand the bonding which might be at play in developing a positive nurturing environment for your precious little saproling.
But in this “women can do everything men can do” (why does that mean we must do?) feminist-fallout culture, we often don’t have the luxury of staying with, bonding with, or nurturing our spawn for every moment of their formative years. So mechanical adaptations have been made, and (at least in the milk-sucking department) somewhat successfully. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t be scared to use the technology available to you, but if you must resort to mechanical milking apparatus (and there are a plethora of reasons this might happen, from latching problems to supply issues to workplace separation), always strive to get back to your baby and spend nurturing time in whatever way you can manage. The formative years are aptly named, and children are quite literally the future of the human species. Their health and happiness is far more important than whatever high-powered “career” job all your girlfriends are telling you you need to get in order to feel like an equal. Besides, housewifery is under-rated. I just wrote this post sitting in pajamas and slippers in the middle of the morning in the comfort of my own home after giving my kids reading and math lessons and twirling them in circles to classical waltz music. After I hit post I’ll probably cook up some lunch and get a few chores out of the way then spend the rest of the afternoon supervising outdoor frolicking and bug-investigations. Life is good.
There is a weird neighborhood with two houses, fenced in with a great white wall and nothing beyond the wall but desert. Inside of the wall the houses have a yard but the grass is a reddish yellow and the little trees are orange and blowing in the wind. There is a family who lives in the one house and from this part the facts become less clear.
I think I remember the two girls who live in the house getting grounded and scrolling through some futuristic strand of light with house or clothing items. I think I can remember the father telling one of them not to go beyond the wall and their house was all bendy and odd looking.
Other than that, my mom woke me up and I never got to continue it. It wasn't a bad dream, just wacky and I wish someone deam doctor would tell me how it formed. Before bed I read the books Lockwood and co. Worked on some alliteration for the contest (Want to help me, list some A words, thank you :) ), and before that I sang to a country song. I also thought of the movie Home. Oh and I watched Good witch. Any of those from this dream? I don't think so.
Hello, Prose friends and family. I have a dilemma.
I have been wanting to publish more than just short stories for a long time, but my busy life has not allowed very much time for such. Nevertheless, I plan to try and buckle down to write a full novel this year. The thing is, most of my short stories have waaaayyyy more substance to them. I literally have stories in all genres and time periods on all sorts of subject matters. So, I need your help. What is the genre you would like to see from me? Are there any short stories of mine you enjoyed reading very much and would like me to continue in that arc? I know I had quite a few comments on many of my posts that you all would like to see the story continued, but I would love if you could post below and let me know your opinions all in one place. Think of it as a poll of sorts. Hopefully, this community input will help me to settle upon one idea, and maybe I can cover the runner-up next.
Thanks so much for your assistance, everyone! God bless you all.
Looking forward to your comments!
We're all living one life. Maybe there will be more of them, maybe not. What happens when we die? I'm trying to put every book on the correct shelf but then there's poetry. Is it fiction? Non-fiction? "It's a genre" you would say. Exactly. That's how I feel. Trying to place big things on big shelves. Only those big things need their own shelves. But there are no more shelves. It's just this big mess in my head that has no end. Ah, we have to learn math for logic or something like that, but where is the logic of life? Of this world? Or maybe life is just a logical mess.
So my explanation of how life works - we live life and §ay things that we don't mean. We think but often keep our thoughts. We ask but rarely get answers. If those questions aren't about something scientific. I could just... I don't know what. I guess I could just live.