Wednesday, February 23, 2011

writing engage

the past couple of nights i fired up the laptop wanting to say something, anything, about the fucked-up-edness state of the world we live in. the horror of a massive earthquake in christchurch, a psycho in libya hell-bent on spraying as many bullets as he can to retain power, union-busting in the midwest. each time i turn on the news, pick up the paper, and turn on the radio i became more and more angry.

but when i wanted to say something meaningful, i can't. words fail me. and not for the first time. then i went to mccrary's blog and see the 'no response' response poems he published in an anthology of writing saying goodbye to the 20th century. that's his poems in the pic. fucking kicked my ass, and had me fall out of my chair. that's it! that's the shit. and that is a kind of engaged writing that meets it's task head on.

that's totally fucking punk rock. which made me think of an article i read yesterday at we who are about to die where the author praises radiohead for foregoing the traditional channels of distribution for their new album and releases it without fanfare online, and for a little while free of charge. the author argues here that publishing can learn much from radiohead's methods. the world is digital now and the best way to get the work out is online. i agree. that's why i advocate diy publishing, self-publishing, and blogs. mccrary beat us all to it by several years. he's been doing his diy self-publishing in paper form for a long, long time, and now the lawrence, ks poet is doing it via blog. publishing, and writers, i think, can learn a lot from jim mccrary.

but that's not all. i've been reading the punk zine maximum rock&roll after picking up a copy last week at the newsbeat. i was surprised to see the zine on the shelf. this punk rag's been going at it for nearly 30 years. it was one of my two, the second is flipside, favorite punk publications back in my screaming hardcore days. mrr hasn't changed very much. the hardcore punk look is gone, no black leather jackets, spikes, biker boots or mohawks. but the diy attitude is potent as ever. and i think poetry, poets and publishing can take a few cues from this diy attitude. no c.v. no careerism. no professionalism. no profession. just the desire to read and write and create more.

what more does poetry need. but that's not all. as for my frustrations and anger of the state of our fucked up world i insist i declare our rights of creating decent, loving lives full of pleasure. and pain. i'll write what i can. and if i can't engage the state with my writing i can do so by pointing out writers who do engage the world beautifully. therefore, i'll conclude this ramble by pointing out one of our best, most thoughtful poets, john bloomberg-rissman, who publishes his political, philosophical, moral, metaphysical writing, esp. his most recent series in the house of the hangman at his blog zeitgeist spam. bloomberg-rissman's provocative texts are a medicine for my melancholy.

with the works of mccrary and bloomberg-rissman texts become action and they both achieve a level of do-it-yourselfness that makes this old punk pretty damn happy to be alive. what more does poetry need.


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