a while back a fellow poet-blogger announced his intention to write an offensive poetry. i've been wondering what that might mean. offensive in what way: bad language, crappy attitude, misanthropic, racist, sexist, all of the above? would a poet be read if the poem is offensive, once the word is defined. would it were only one definition, offensive, cuz the word is in the eye of the beholder and the beholden.
not that i advocate racist/sexist shit, no not at all. tho there are plenty of poems with macho posturing, think bukowski and his ilk. the same of some writers who hate humanity, think larkin at his worst. could offensive poetry be political? depends on what side of the divide you sit.
some of the most brazen writing i know of comes from hardcore punk bands of the early '80s. parents/teachers/adults worry so that contemporary hip-hop is the end of western civilization, what with its emphasis on drugs, sex and violence. i say, shit; you've never heard 'code blue' by los angeles-based t.s.o.l. which is about necrophilia. the chorus goes something like, 'i wanna / i wanna / fuck the dead'. my parents hated that song when it blasted from my room.
last halloween i went with a friend and his brother to a movie festival. my friend's brother is a grad student at uc riverside studying the classics. two things i asked him. first did he ever study under derrida, second can he translate a line from catullus for me. for the first question the answer was, yes, loved it and with great respect and awe for the philosopher. the second question was a bit more tricky since the latin is concise and quite an insult.
which is one of the reasons why i love catullus so. the dude loved to eat, fuck, love and hate. here is the line.
'pedicabo ego uos et irrumabo'
robert j. ormsby translates it as, 'i'll fuck you both right up the ass'
peter whigham just shortens the line to an almost quaint two words, 'pedicabo et irrumabo'
while jim powell does it this way, 'bend over, aurelius you faggot queer / and you, dear furius, kneel down cocksucker-'
that's pretty offensive. it has yet to be matched, i think. anyway, i don't know if the poet-blogger ever wrote and published his offensive poetry. i'd want to read it, but frankly don't know i'd recognize it as such upon first reading anyway. catullus set a pretty low standard.