Saturday, October 14, 2006

What do you think of the title: "Naked on a Park Bench?"

This post is a little belated, since it's been 'news' for about three weeks now, but I have, in fact, started reading Canadian poetry on CKUT on Wednesday mornings. I have a ten-minute segment on the Wednesday Morning After show, usually between 8 and 9. Last week I read some stuff by Karen Solie and Donald Hall, and the week before that, I read some stuff by Canadian poets against the war, including my mom's cousin Peter Jaeger, who's excellent. Upcoming this week: everyone's favourite Leonard Cohen. This is the man that can change your mind if you think you don't like poetry. Or I might break down and read some of Dennis Lee's Riffs instead because I miss Cheyne, and I can do whatever I want because it's my show. Segment. Whatever.

I was sitting in my Canadian literature class learning about the life-threatening situation facing Canadian literature and Canadian publishing today. Apparently Canadians could care less what their literary culture is doing, and probably figure Margaret Atwood has it covered. It terrifies me that all the excellent, intelligent, and political poetry Canadians are writing right now is slipping through the economic cracks of the conservative government and the general apathy of Canadians to do anything about it. And plus, it hurts me that so many people think they hate poetry, because high school totally ruined it for them. I hated poetry when I got out of high school too, and now I love it. The radio show is just meant to be about someone who likes poetry and wants to share it, and the possibilities of broadening that community through the airwaves. Last week, Neil, who does the music and tech on the Morning After, said he stopped paying attention during one of the poems. i was so glad he said that, because it gave me an opportunity to say that that was okay--for the poems to be boring, or pretentious, or to not like them. that's hwy the discussion is there.

I'm not going to stop here, either. I'm hoping to help out with another poetry show on the station, Dromostexte on thursday evenings at 8, and do a canadian version of his show. I also hope to make it into a full-length show, so i can have people come in and read their favourite poems and talk about them.

Up next: podcasts. I'll keep you updated.


Anonymous said...

honestly, canadian people (this includes you i'm assuming) have more to worry about. when was the last time you read the newspaper? did it mention anything about the dozen or so wars/genocides/conflicts happening in the world? oh i know, lets write a poem about the war and that just might end it!

drj said...

Well, yeah, it might. I think poetry has an untapped power for disseminating opinion and counter-culture ideas. That's what poetry was originally for, until it got swallowed up by TV and chicklit novels. We now often hear political statements in music, which i believe has in part taken the role poetry used to play, but it is mired in the rules of radio play in large part. Poetry represents another way of playing the same, very important part in society.
I read the newspaper every day. When was the last time you read a poem?

Alison said...

Anonymous, I don't mean any disrespect, but your comment is driving me crazy. It reminds me of the way people justify not giving change to the homeless by saying they would rather donate a large sum of money to a shelter.

The people who say that never donate the money, and they use their spare change to buy coffee.

How does reading a newspaper have an impact on wars/genocides/conflicts? For that matter, how does worrying about those issues make any kind of a difference at all?

Poetry can be used as a means of not only engaging one's own thoughts with the world we inhabit, but also of communicating those thoughts with others. Unlike newspapers, which present themselves as authoritative, poetry engages people in a dialogue about who we are and what we do as human beings.

Sorry for the rant, Julie.

zack said...

oh i know, lets write a poem about the war and that just might end it!

I don't see you behind the barrel of an M16, fighting to protect the people of Sudan.

In fact, I see you anonymously posting (poorly informed)comments on a blog! Welcome to being less relevant than poets!