THE PRACTICE AS THE GOAL
I'M BAAAAACK....And what a pain to travel within hours after discovery of the foiled London plot. When we got to the SF Airport to fly to Santa Fe, the new regulations precluding liquids in carryalls had just taken effect -- and I knew because as soon as I got out of the cab onto the sidewalk, an official came up blaring a megaphone right into my face beginning with
A MESSAGE FROM HOMELAND SECURITY....!!!!!
So I checked my bag -- except I forgot about some lotion in my purse. Fortunately (I say that tongue-in-cheek), the lines were quite long. So I just used up an entire bottle of lotion on my hands until we got to the end of the line since the alternative was just to chuck it into the nearby trash. I was terrorized into the softest hands I'd had in quite a while....yadda.
But, lookit, I didn't have a chance to hook up with any of the poets in Santa Fe (thank you and apologies to those of you who invited). This was actually a winged busman's holiday -- I had to go there this weekend because certain pots belong in Galatea and I needed to conduct a blocking tactic against the annual Indian Market that'll erupt later this week.
But whilst I was in lovely New Mexico, I visited some friends at some pueblos. And here's something that resonated poetics-wise with Moi. We were discussing Oral Tradition...and how it was only relatively recently that some Pueblo & other Indians have started to accept the use of audio recordings for oral languages and stories that, by being reliant on being verbally passed down the generations, stand the risk of becoming extinct.
I asked: Why the reluctance to record? My Pueblo Indian friend said it had to do with fatalism -- specifically, if the language was not being used, why preserve it? This resonated because it means (to me) that culture then would have to preserve something through usage -- and not *objectification/fetishization*(?) I asterisk that phrase as it's mine, not my friend's phraseology.
It's not a big leap to move to why certain poets want their works to go beyond academia -- this isn't about academic bashing; it's about making poetry part of daily life. When Santa Fe's Poet Laureate Arthur Sze visited Napa recently, one of the joys he mentioned was crafting poetry readings that would be attended by those who might not otherwise think of attending a poetry reading -- peeps from other occupations than the literary. And it's why I'll be happily wrapping up poetry books to send to some Santa Fe architects later this morning, or why I love sharing poetry books with those I meet who aren't poets (winemakers, construction workers, petsitters, lawyers....).
Daily significance as a sign of the ongoing relevance of something -- including someone's poetry -- is a goal. The practice is the goal.
Meanwhile, the new issue of Listenlight was released while I was away, featuring me with rob mclennan, amanda laughtland, matina stamatakis, phil primeau, and donna kuhn. Heartfelt thanks to editor/publisher Jesse Crockett for asking. I love to be asked; a goal in my Poetry is never to say "No."
My poems in Listenlight, btw, are from "Trance Ascent," writ partly by reading through Dante's Purgatorio -- and the italicized sections come from an existing work, Menage a Trois With the 21st Century. I sculptured in fragments from existing work to reference Dante's concept of earthly existence...and because I want to keep Menage a Trois timely -- that is, relevant. The relevance relates to how Murat Nemet-Nejat had once identified Menage a Trois as a "neglectorino" project and because, per the Pueblo discussion above, one wants to keep poetry alive by not ignoring it.