I read an account today about the tribulations of Poetry Magazine getting boatloads of cash and everyone bitching about John Barr saying poetry doesn't talk to the present.
You're upset? Please say no. It's a good thing that someone gave us dough to do what we do and it's good that that opens up debate on what we do. Who gives a flying fuck about what the founder of the mag cared about when she started it. Life was different then. Poetry had a different place in the world of America.
So this is my direct address to John Barr:
There are poets already in the US who write poetry that is accessible, powerful, real and compelling in a variety of styles. Reach out to them. Find a way to bring them under your tent. Poetry is at it's best when it doesn't give a fuck about audience but connects deeply with the audience.
Ginsberg, Auden, Eliot, Frost, and ninety million others. Reach out to poets that care and not to poets who care to publish.
Print is nice. Audience is better.
People need to hear the roar and natter and quiet of poetry. They need our diverse and stupid views and if they have a way to find it they will respond.
God bless Dana Goia and John Barr. Great men who care about the art, not the artist.
They may be dumb chuckleheads and in fact they are but we could all use their cash.
You can make fun of Billy Collins but the man writes poetry people hear and love and it doesn't suck.
He cares about his art and his audience and his soul. Oh, is that so bad?
For every Billy Collins there's a Henry Rollins.
Open the tent.
Make it a real show.
Invite everyone in and show them the magic.