My Fear of Poets

Recently, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing put up a billboard celebrating a local poet. I first saw this sign while driving on a highway this weekend, and afterwards I spent 20 minutes trying to understand what I read and then wondering how that one little sentence exactly was poetry. How safe that was for me or the other drivers is debatable (Considering my driving skills it is always debatable when I am on the roads).

The sign read only this: “Blood beats history as presence.”

Imagine seeing that in big white letters with a black background while driving and you will understand my car’s slight swervings. (I get what the poet is saying, but the imagery being used feels very aggressive to me; “blood” and “beatings,” etc.).

I’ve never really understood modern poetry and the sad thing is I have tried. But like the Freemasons, they have their own secret rules and initiations into deciding who can and cannot be in the club. I was never honored with the customary black turtleneck and ink quill as it were; but, honestly, I never sought it out.

I like classic poetry. I can be moved by a Shakespeare sonnet. I am a fan of the Romantic poets (and have quoted Keats often in my work), but the freedom from the classic rules you find in modern or contemporary poetry is what disarms me. Some I really like (Henry Williams’ work jumps to mind.) Yet, poetry, like modern painting, seems to now exist somewhere down in the stomach as a gut/emotional reaction as compared to something that can be easily analyzed on the page. And if you don’t get it, well, you don’t get it.

Yet, while I can accept that I do not understand most poetry today, I have a deeper reaction to modern poetry than simple confusion… Fear. Continue reading

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Goodbye to a Galaxy Far, Far Away

A new film article is up at Green Spot Blue.  This one is from a one-time avid Star Wars fan saying goodbye (and why he is saying it). Also, I share some of my memories and opinions about each of the films (and you get to see a picture of me as Chewie!). Consider it a wake for a childhood obsession and all the humor that comes with that idea. So raise a glass and enjoy the beginning of the article:

Soon the Complete Star Wars Saga will be hitting on blu-ray, and for a member of Generation X, it can’t help but make me stop and take pause over this creation and its influence. For my generation, this is our Beatles, this is our man on the moon, this is our disco. We wear the t-shirts, we recite the lines at random times:

Like Beggar’s canyon back home.

That’s no moon, it’s a space station.

Heck, I have even met someone once who had turned his Mini-Cooper into an X-Wing! But beyond the extremes like that, it has shaped for many of us how we look at the world, and how we see our place in it… for good or bad.

The Original Trilogy

My first ever memory is seeing Star Wars in the theater.

I was 3, and my parents took me to see it in our local theater. The theater was packed and people cheered and clapped throughout it. I remember seeing Artoo on the screen and thinking that is cool. It had a profound impact on my entire life (and probably on my parents’ checkbook).

I remember begging my folks to take me to see The Empire Strikes Back and that Christmas I got an AT-AT and it was awesome.

Now my bad story, I remember convincing a kid in fourth grade, who I didn’t particularly like, that he should include me in his birthday gathering because they were all going to see Return of the Jedi that opening night. After the movie, I made some excuse and went home, my task completed. I know, I know, ouch.

I think I purchased every video release of these films, especially in the later years, looking to see what changes George Lucas had made this time. Yet, with the more changes he made the more I realized he wasn’t adding, but taking away. Now when I watch A New Hope (the corrected title for the original film), the pace is all wrong, he added too much extra, throwing off the rhythm of the original’s pace, like a drum solo that has lost its time. A shame. (I’m not even going to discuss the recent addition of Darth Vader shouting “Noooo!!!” to the Return of the Jedi! It would just be a waste of breath; when Lucas has made a change, he doesn’t go back no matter how bad the idea.)

You can read the rest of the article here.

May the force be with you… or what is left of it.