POETRY AND ALL THAT RAP

Forget story line; forget characterization. Like his critic told Jackson Pollock in the movie, “there’s only paint and surface”, words and paper, time, a medium for light and sound. A medium it is, certainly nothing rare nor well done. Nobody’s writing the great American novel anymore, just pulp fiction for ultimate adaptation to screenplay. Most poetry sucks, too, reverted to the flower arrangements in fragile crocks that the Beats smashed to bits fifty years ago to no future avail. When the smoke clears, poetry’s firmly back in the control of the academic pencil pushers and their precious little artifices and the delightful breaking of grammatical rules for dramatic effect. Someone who’d never dangle a participle leaves a subject noun suspended in mid-air at the end of a stanza waiting for the verb beginning the next stanza to rescue it and its lack of importance from certain oblivion, the flying trapeze of literature. This proves nothing except that the author went to poetry class and learned the insider’s language. I get all giggly just thinking about it. Of course ‘slam’ poetry tries to undo all that artsy-fartsy crap by the pure will of ego unleashed on a noisy stage, releasing obscenities on a suspecting public in dire need of sensibilities left to offend. Its similarities and simultaneous emergence with rap music is more than coincidental. Henry Miller and William Burroughs were the right men for the jobs of their times, but it remains to be seen who’s right for the new millennium, an age of interdependence possibly beyond the grasp of heroes.

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