I want to be part of the poetry comeback crew, pleasePosted: August 9, 2013
I convinced VICE to publish a gossip column/industry & conference review as a poem yesterday. So yeah, I am serious about this.
Why poetry? Because when it comes to story-telling, it is the most efficient form. Least input, brain fills in the rest. Imagination hacking, if you will. I love making the reader unpack things, toying with words.
A resurgence of mass public interest in poetry coincides with Twitter’s 140 character limit, I have to mention this. There is a certain beauty in brevity when you consider the infinite space on the web… and data caps. (Vine too, if we want to go multimedia with this)
Poetry even looks like programming!
Given the following as precedent, poetry going mainstream is not far fetched: You have Weird Twitter poets, the alt lit crowd, teens writing poetry on Tumblr (more accepted than when I was doing it on deadjournal as a preppy goth, too). Dan Sinker’s expletive-filled Twitter parody of Rahm Emanuel (however unfunny) still got turned into a book deal. Twitter account Shit Girls Say becomes a live web series. And then you have Patricia Lockwood writing an incredibly well-received poem on a personal experience, titled “Rape Joke” on The Awl.
I think I can be a part of this “making poetry cool again” club even though I am not smoozing with literary New York because …
Well, besides why the hell not, my almost-finished college degree was in poetry (after switching from biochemistry, minor in philosophy)… and my university gave me a small cash award for a poem? Does being published in the university’s poetry mag count too? As well as high school editor of the literary publication? My favorite modern living poet is Robyn Schiff, and I squeed when I met her when she visited. That must count.
I’m just saying, I have the chops.
Which is why, then, that poetry is heavily featured in my Immigrant book, now comfortably titled “The Curse of Gabor.” This book has been a long time coming (working on chapters for 5 years now, actually), because every time I write a new chapter (be it a short story, poem, curated media) I get really depressed. Sometimes I can’t touch the material again for extended periods of time. This passage of time then helps me write the jokes desperately needed take the edge off. I don’t know if I can pull off a Sedaris, but I definitely don’t want people crying non-stop while they read this thing of mine. Poetry is a way for me to tell the story with just enough detail. Not too much detail, because in the end I want some shred of dignity and pride left. ( ugh. I need to find a book agent.)
Since the subject matter is so heavy (domestic violence, gun violence, having a teen mom, poverty, depression … and then a bunch of lighthearted stuff about the immigrant experience and growing up in NYC), I have decided to first complete a poetry chapbook .
Not just any ol’ chapbook of poetry, THIS one will be about Internet phenomenon. Print run of 1337 copies, with illustrations. (I would want to pay Molly Crabapple to do one if she is interested, as well as Chicagoland artists) Or if there is mass interest and I raise enough funds via some sort of crowdsourcing platform, then 9,001 copies. There can only be a limited number of copies though, this is very important, as it is about this juxtaposition of finite and scarce data/text/whatever versus the foreverness and infinity that is the web.
Poetry topics will include (ones I have notes for, but open to suggestions, no more than 20 poems): CFAA martyrs (including weev), Scumbag Steve and other memes, usenet, Reddit, Twitter , YouTube, 4chan /b/, hacktivism, gamers and their rage/sexism, trolling, cyberbullying, White man internet. Fun stuff.
The first three stanzas for my Anonymous poem have been perfected, and since I guess I am now a journalist each poem will be run by various members of the community, for feedback, accurate portrayal purposes. This Anonymous poem for instance, once completed will be sent to members of Anonymous, hackers and folks like Biella Coleman for feedback, etc.
So yeah. The time for you to care about poetry starts… now? Yes, now.