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"When I think about all the effort I put into writing poems, being a poet, reading contemporary poetry, it just makes me sick. These days, if I read a poem now of a certain kind -- one that avoids feeling, a speaker, or making any connection with the reader, of which there are many -- I feel sick. I think I called it ďaloof disengagementĒ in the book. The trouble is, no one can tell it doesnít work. No one can really measure if a poem is good or not. Itís all a voucher system based on mutual fear; it depends on the previous generation bringing people into the fold. Whole books of poets publishing other poets, poets going to see other poets read. Itís an unsustainable system. Even the most niche of niche art forms have an audience. Not so with contemporary poetry."
What makes a book brave? Is it risking censorship, exile, prison, and literal death to write down some threatening truth, to challenge a dictatorship or offend the emperor? Is it spilling your guts about the secret innards of your marriage, your sexual desires, your mania, your disease? Is it showing some part of yourself that no one would ever want to expose? Is it shaking down the art world, making something perilously new? Is it opening yourself up to the daemons and murderous deities that make you work like that, putting you on auto-pilot like the pretty ballerina in The Red Shoes, till your art takes over your fragile human life and steals everything from you?
"Books are trying to compete with the immediacy of TV, movies, and specifically, the flooding text of the internet. I think . . . that the novel has an advantage in its lack of immediacy. A book that takes years to write . . . it takes a set of feelings and thoughts and silences that have profoundly evolved over time. Some people would have you believe that the novel is in trouble as an art form. The novel isn't in trouble -- making money off the novel is in trouble."
We neglect, abuse, or kill animals because of their biology, their essential not-us-ness, their cognitive endowment(we judge) inferior to ours. And this treatment of animals is simply indefensible in any ethical framework that rejects biology as grounds for ill treatment.
Barbara J. King
"The point is that many people, like yourself, are afraid or just canít be bothered with putting oneís thoughts out there on that screen and in that public space, so to speak, because a handful of idiots take the opportunity to attack, as though they will look cool or powerful somehow for being aggressive and putting an end to constructive exchange. What I finally determined was that I could do one of two things: I could retreat and shut up or I could declare public internet space territory I too was entitled to and shout back at key moments. Iíve done the latter, as you note, and am still learning to pick and choose my battles wisely. One thing I can say, there arenít as many asses online as there are thinking individuals; the assholes just scream louder and are persistent, so they can distract and set a tone."
In general, civilians are interested enough in the fact that I spend so many hours trying to scribble poems; when making small-talk with strangers, I often feel like a trick pony; sort of interesting, but also a bit freakish, and fairly irrelevant to the real world. . . . Picasso said, ďIt is your work in life which is the ultimate seduction,Ē something the men in my life havenít much liked to hear.