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Please, No More Poetry

Please, No More Poetry

                  Poetry is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

                  Poetry has little to offer outside of poetry itself. Poets chose to be poets because they do not have the drive to become something better.

                  Readers are a book’s aphorisms.                 

                  All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. To be natural is to be obvious, and to be obvious is to be inartistic. Poetry, sadly, knows it’s poetry, while writing doesn’t always know it’s writing.

                  Art is a conversation, not a patent office.

                  Poets in ostrich-like ignorance of the potential of sharing—as opposed to hoarding—their texts, are ignoring potentially the most important artistic innovation of the 20th century: collage. What’s at stake? Nothing but their own obsolescence. If you don’t share you don’t exist.

                  We expect plumbers, electricians, engineers and doctors to both have a specific and specialized vocabulary and be on the forefront of new advancements in their field, but scorn poets who do the same.

                  Poets are now judged not by the quality of their writing but by the infallibility of their choices.

                  Having been unpopular in high school is not just cause for book publications.

                  Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.

                  In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.

                  Rules are guidelines for stupid people.

                  In poetry we celebrate mediocrity and ignore radicality.

                  Poetry has more to learn from graphic design, engineering, architecture, cartography, automotive design, or any other subject, than it does from poetry itself.

                  Poets should not be told to write what they know. They don’t know anything, that’s why they are poets.

                  The Internet is not something that challenges who we are or how we write, it iswho we are and how we write. Poets—being poets—are simply the last to realize the fact.

                  If writing a poem is inherently tragic it is because it is hard to believe that the author had nothing better to do. It is inherently tragic because we still choose an out-dated form as a medium for argumentation.

                  If we had something to say would we choose the poem—with its sliver of audience and lack of cultural cachet—as the arena to announce that opinion?

                  Please, no more poetry.

~DEREK BEAULIEU

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That's Not Writing

That’s not writing

“That’s not writing, that’s typewriting.”
                —Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac

“That’s not writing, that’s plumbing.”
                —Samuel Beckett on William S. Burroughs

            That’s not writing, that’s typing.
            That’s not writing, that’s someone else typing.
            That’s not writing, that’s googling.
            That’s not writing, that’s blogging.
            That’s not writing, that’s wasted, unproductive, tweaking time.
            That’s not writing, that’s stupid.
            That’s not writing, that’s a coloring book.
            That’s not writing, that’s coming up with ideas.
            That’s not writing, that’s waiting.
            That’s not writing, that’s a mad scribble.
            That’s not writing, that’s printing and lettering.
            That’s not writing, that’s tape-recording.
            That’s not writing, that’s word-processing.
            That’s not writing, that’s following the herd.
            That’s not writing, that’s copying and pasting.
            That’s not writing, that’s directing.
            That’s not writing, that’s using high-“polluting” words to confuse readers.
            That’s not writing, that’s aggregating, and there are already plenty of aggregators out there.
            That’s not writing, that’s printing.
            That’s not writing, that’s art.
            That’s not writing, that’s Tourettes.
            That’s not writing, that’s posing.
            That’s not writing, that’s button-mashing, and anyone can do that.
            That’s not writing, that’s vandalism.
            That’s not writing, that’s acting.
            That’s not writing, that’s blabbing.
            That’s not writing, that’s hiking.
            That’s not writing, that’s just a knife he’s using to eat pie with.
            That’s not writing, that’s bullying.
            That’s not writing, that’s dentistry.
            That’s not writing, that’s just endless blathering.
            That’s not writing, that’s yelling.
            That’s not writing, that’s butchery!
            That’s not writing, that’s a fortune cookie!
            That’s not writing, that’s emoting
            That’s not writing, that’s just dressing it up after.
            That’s not writing, that’s just playing around.
            That’s not writing, that’s daydreaming.
            That’s not writing, that’s showing off.
            That’s not writing, that’s keyboarding.
            That’s not writing, that’s calligraphy.
            That’s not writing, that’s mindless pasting.
            That’s not writing, that’s an action flick.
            That’s not writing, that’s a puddle.
            That’s not writing, that’s a tragedy.
            That’s not writing, that’s assembly line mass production.
            That’s not writing, that’s transcribing.
            That’s not writing, that’s computer-generated text.
            That’s not typing, that’s data entry.

~DEREK BEAULIEU

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Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose

to find out what it really means.

Billy Collins

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