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On The Need to Say

With 6 poets reading, by the next day, the first poet of the night is a week or two of information ago.

When on the weekend that goes up to 9 or so over 10 hours,…hm, should be interesting to wrangle. Some people come for one event each day, some for all. There’s many ways to approach anything that work.

Some poets have a small set repeated often. Some, a large set rarely repeated. What works best? If something’s not worth repeating is it worth saying the first time? What does an audience want? With music some people listen on frequent rotation.

Some pieces deepen with repetition with more layers to grasp, such as Tredinnick was saying in reference to his poem dedicated to his wife about Jacaranda blossoms as fallen soldiers. He himself doesn’t quite get what he’s saying and each poem had at least 6 layers and the writer may only get access to one but each reading brings something else up.

Other poems are blunt and there’s not much gap between denotation and connotation. They preach, judge, indict. For whatever the style of the poetry, it is presenting, embedding, an ideology, a worldview of what is important. Some are implicit. Some are explicitly rebellious. It may be anti-narrative. It may direct attention to one’s love of one’s child. It may be cathartic of what happened on the way to work. It may look for complex unresolvable pictures, fragments of actual and imagined to re-write what is worth paying attention to. It is all, look here.

Yet some things have to be said and if there’s that need, there’s no not-spilling it. If you think its valuable, you share it.

In one-on-one conversations the person who shares can narrow in on nurturing one idea, cultivating conditions for it to grow with a conversational partner.

Poetry, by its nature when presented on stage, is broadcast. It can’t customize to each listener.

listening in audience
It may land as a conversation between each listener and the the speaker but it doesn’t have the same knowing. Knowing your audience, dialoguing, you can have more of a fit for mutual development.

But poetry is putting it out there as is and there’s only so much you can do to make it accessible. It goes where it goes. Once out of your mouth and hands, it’s out of your control, out there.

As Timothy said, the mandate is to “preach in season or out of season” because some things matter. Sometimes that means shoehorning in a pitch, to mix my metaphors. You sow the seed of ideas indiscriminately because the seed matters and the ground and weather, you can’t control. You don’t know what will take root, if it will fall on rock or in thorns or in good soil, said Luke. Obviously seed pitched to receptive conditions give better yield.

So if we are to broadcast to change the world, exhort others to be reflective on white privilege, or idealized box of happiness = married long term stable opposite gender relationship, what works best as form and content? How do we prevent preaching to the choir? Or is reinforcing ourselves a way to further develop one strain of thought and also useful?

Lots to muse on.

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Continuing the Discussion

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