Sunday, August 5, 2007

On Public Displays of Poetry (PDP's)

Been surfing the web on poetry links as I sometimes do late at night and found this interesting link quite by chance:

The article stimulates a lot of interesting comments (and performance links) from interested poets. The whole thing turns into a comment on whether TV is the right medium for poetry - accessibility and audience seem to be both its attraction and its Achille's heel. There is widespread agreement that TV and other forms of popular media have become "dumb" (at the assumption of its producers rather that the request of its audience) and that poets might be entering into a Faustian pact by allowing themsleves to be broadcast on TV. On the other hand, like many Slam poets I am convinced at the power of the unadorned spoken word, and welcome any opportunity to "get it out there". It's fascinating that this discussion is taking place in the UK, yet could reflect the experiences of many poets in the English-speaking world (where poetry is somehow not as cool as in the Hispanic or Asian worlds...why is that?)

I particularly liked this comment from "digit" (hope you don't mind me quoting you, mate):
"The real problem is the widespread assumption that poetry isn't any fun. As long as programmers keep believing this, even if they put poetry on, they're likely to do extraneous things to try to make it fun - the same kind of embarrassing, patronising bollocks that wrecks theatre for a lot of schoolkids. "

This links to another recent post I've read about teaching poetry to children - some are of the opinion that you have to make it relevant, and choose topics that appeal, others don't see a problem with using the classic, and best, texts there are (and by classic I don't mean just old poetry).

There isn't any "right" wayof course. Only personal preference, driven by experience, and a reading of the situation. But I will swear that poetry is not only relevant, but can oftenbe embraced and have healing properties for those that discover it - I'm not just saying this idly, but as the author (wearing my medical hat)of a study on arts programmes for at-risk young people in South Auckland, where I worked last year.

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