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Office Poetry

One of the things I like about having friends is that I learn things from them. When I showed up to meet HAT yesterday for snacks and conversation, she was reading this book on poetry and where it fits in life.

The portion she happened to be reading at the time was about the lack of business in poetry. Not the kind where poetry doesn’t pay, which is so obvious that it doesn’t need repeating. The author noted that while many major poets had serious jobs in business—yes, you, Wallace Stevens—their work lives don’t appear in their poetry.

We talked about why. Some of it is the abstract nature of business. Some of it is essentially snobbism: poetry is the real job of poets, no matter how they pay the bills. Some of it may be a refusal to plug into the nontraditional symbols of the office when there are such rich and exploitable symbols in the natural world, the home, the private moments.

And so over the next week, we are going to write office poems. (We first met in an office, actually…) For HAT, this will probably mean yet another work of genius. For me, more an exercise. For both of us another moment to transform the ordinary. I am lucky to have such friends.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 25th, 2009 07:42 am (UTC)
From HAT
Yeah, ha, well, work of genius that you mentioned...? I finished reading one of the reviews (in the same book) that Gioia wrote about Robert Bly's "successful career" and it was scathing! I mean, Gioia basically tore him apart for writing substandard poetry. Makes me cringe when I think of poetry writing. May never do it again. Ever. Sigh.

It was great to catch up on Monday! I'm so glad we're doing it again. ox, ox, ox
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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