Elsewhere in e-world, folks are ranting about how blog is killing poetry.
Let’s be totally straight about this:
Blogs are not killing poetry. Poets writing bad poetry are killing poetry.
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said this, and I agree with him. I would like to add this: Blogging is not a substitute for writing poetry and reading poetry. Blogging is not a substitute for developing effective social and marketing skills as a poet in the literary industry.
Rather than get negative about “bad poetry,” I will qualify what I believe is great poetry, the kind of poetry I find meaningful and enjoyable, which continues to be written by poets, and even blogging poets:
The poetry that tries its best to understand our place and condition in the world, spiritually, historically, culturally, politically. Poetry that seeks to connect with readers and audience, and in doing so, growing community. Poetry that grows larger than the individual I, taking on the beauty and the problem of we. Poetry that seeks to do all these things with a keen sense of music and a deep love of language.
(I copied and pasted this from my previous post on poetic greatness here.)
I am a broken record on the subject of blogging. In my recent interview with Rachelle Cruz, she asked me to talk a little bit about blogging, its dailiness, and how it is useful to me as a poet. I’ll reiterate quickly some points: as poets, including being poets published by independent presses, we need to be able to have a public presence. Editors and educators find me and contact me here.
What I really should have mentioned on Rachelle’s show is that especially as poets of color, as women of color, as politicized women of color authors, we need to have visibility and voice in the literary world and in the literary marketplace, not as bodies and objects of exotica or the current “it” thing in politically correct multi-culti lit. We need to be able to define, to control our literary careers; we need to be able to represent ourselves, and to speak for ourselves and our work. While others in the literary industry have called me an activist, a term with which I am not completely comfortable, again I just believe it is very important to be in control of our own careers.
This blog is a tool in which to formulate my ideas for new poetic projects and work through poetic drafts, line breaks, syntax, tone; in which to mull over cultural phenomena; in which to communicate with readers and students about my development as a writer, my writing and writing process, how these are informed by my political beliefs and historical and cultural knowledge. In other words, I talk about myself here all the time. This is the more favorable alternative to having others presume to speak for me.
Blogging is unlike my author website, in that the content of this blog is dynamic and interactive. Unlike Facebook, the content of this blog is accessible to anyone online. Unlike Twitter, the content of this blog has more than adequate space to be substantial, critical, and complex.
I may eventually cave in on other Web 2.0 social media. My sister who is a marketing executive in Silicon Valley mentioned to me last weekend that I would be good at Twitter, given Oscar’s and my constant attending of literary and cultural events, reading books, et al. I am thinking about it but don’t hold your breath.