Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Poetry in motion

I will admit to making fun of women poets. I'll admit to mocking most poets in general, but specifically women poets. And the reason for this is not wholly a sexist thing. I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a feminist (can men be feminists?) but I'm all for equal pay, equal benefits, I even believe women should be drafted (though this last one is for a purely selfish reason, I think there should be as many people possible eligible for the draft so there's a longer list of people before the draft gets to me). I think women and men are at equal standing intellectually, and to a certain extent athletically (I find both women's and men's basketball equally boring). In regard to most any other art form I don't place any weight as to whether the artist is a man or a woman.

Poetry is a whole other matter. Modern Women poets I've read, save one or two, all seem to want to be the next Sylvia Plath. They come out with pretentious poetry, most often with male bashing, damn the patriarchal society diatribes. And because of all these would be Plaths, I never actually read any of the real Plath's work. If this is how they emulated her work, then I couldn't imagine I would like it.

Last night, while driving home from Home depot I was listening to NPR on point, and they played a recording of Sylvia Plath reading her poem Daddy. Daddy was written during the twilight of her life and the recording was taken only a few months before she killed herself. It floored me. It was one of the funniest, most ironic, saddest, touching, cynical, bitter, beautiful poems I have ever heard read in my entire life. I can't recall the last time a poem hit me with such an emotional impact. And I got it. For the first time I understood why so many people try emulating her, and why so many people fail.

Uh.. carry on then.


E.B. Noodles said...

>>I find both women's and men's basketball equally boring.

Ha, ha!

>>I will admit to making fun of women poets.

1. I haven't read Sylvia Plath. The impression I get (from teenage girls) is that she was sad and brilliant (like teenage girls) --maybe that's just a case of the readers sullying the writer.

2. I was once in a poetry class with a few guys and several girls. There were these two girls... one of them would write something like:
*endangered emotions like engorged entrails
and the other might write:
*piss Poor. Darkness, campfire shadows.
Not to be at all mean, but it was sometimes fun to hear the latter girl explain away punctuation and syntax.
[*To their credit, I made both of the above samples up.]

3. Why do they call writing classes workshops? I've just always wondered.

Amichai said...

We like calling writing classes workshops because it sounds all technical and like real work is being done. It's easier to explain away to all your friends and Family. Answering, "I'm taking a writing workshop." sounds more productive and harder than a writing class, or heaven forbid; a writing seminar.

Out of all my writing workshops (and I've taken more than my fair share in order to finish my degree) the worst poems I read were written by the female students, and often caused great rows of laughter back at the apartment sharing with my roommates the hideous syntax and grammatical fumbles in the work.

To be fair the two student poets I consistently liked throughout my college education were both women. Though I don't know if the second girl counts, I might've only liked her poetry because I had a crush on her at the time.