Reminder: SoCoCo Reading Series Resumes 2PM Sun. Jan 11th as "SoCoCo At the Toad" Toad In the Hole, Santa Rosa with Lu Garcia, Gwynn O'Gara, Ed Coletti, David Madgalene, Mark Eckert, and Centa Theresa.
San Francisco Bay Area Poet David Madgalene Responds
November 6, 2008
I want to respond to Joseph Bednarik’s lament, “The Law of Diminishing Readership,” which you posted on your blog. I can’t help thinking about a recent concert I attended by South African drummer, Baba Shibambo. Shibambo asked us all to dance, to clap, and to make noise. He said, “In my village, there is no audience. We all participate.” With Shibambo’s encouragements as my touchstone, I should like to counter Bednarik’s argument that the fact more people are writing poetry while less people are reading it is a bad thing. I have to believe that the more people writing poetry, regardless of readership, or lack of it, is all for the best. Because that means that more people are attempting to enunciate their own experience for themselves rather than to have others do it for them. While it truly is a shame that many good poets, such as most of my friends, and, I might as well say, with no false modesty, in my opinion, a good poet such as myself, will never get the audience that we think we deserve, isn’t it better for us that we are at least trying to write poetry rather than just to live in sycophantic adoration of someone like Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost? And by the same token, if I believe that, must I not likewise extend the same courtesy to some young poet (or perhaps not-so-young poet), and believe that they, too, must be better off writing their own poetry, however humble, rather than to merely in live in sycophantic adoration of my own humble efforts? I am not Robert Frost, and I may not have one iota of his poetic gift, yet nonetheless, is it not a good thing that I write poetry anyway? Should indeed there be some misbegotten young sonneteer out there who has not one iota of my poetic gift, is it nonetheless not a good thing that he or she is writing poetry anyway? If nothing else, is not an act of true courage for someone like me, a mere pygmy at the feet of Robert Frost, to nonetheless, utter, “I AM…?” Is it not nonetheless an act of true courage for a mere pygmy at my poetic feet (if such a thing were even possible, I’ll grant you) , to nonetheless utter, “I AM…?” True poetry, I believe, is written for the self, regardless of readership, or lack thereof, while I am still generous-hearted enough to empathize with anyone, who bitten by the poetry bug, honestly thought, encouraged by family, friends, or teachers, could possibly write poetry to a world that had even the slightest trifling interest. However, I, for one, will never, never bemoan that fact that more people seem to be writing poetry than reading it. I’d prefer to echo the words of Baba Shibambo, and declare that I should rather wish to live in a world where there is no audience for poetry, because we are all poets!
David MadgaleneComment Here on any of the above or below and read the comments of others too. Log in under "Name" or "Anonymous" if you like, but please be sure to sign some facsimile of your name. Actual name is best, but use what you like. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have difficulty.
Santa Rosa Philip Whalen Tribute Reading/Word Temple/Copperfield's Books/Nov. 7, 2008
If You're So Smart,
Why Ain't You Rich?
I need everything else
But I have nothing
Shall have nothing
No one can afford
Being made here and now
(left to right Gail King, Phyllis Meshulam, Pat Nolan, David Bromige(sitting), Clark Coolidge, Terri Carrion, Bill Hawley, Michael Rothenberg, Brian Howlett, Katherine Hastings, and Ed Coletti)
Comment Here on any of the above or below and read the comments of others too. Log in under "Name" or "Anonymous" if you like, but please be sure to sign some facsimile of your name. Actual name is best, but use what you like. Or email me at email@example.com if you have difficulty.