Susan Sontag explains the appeal of instagram “poetry” in On Photography way back in 1973 – “The only prose that seems credible to more and more readers is… the raw record – edited or unedited talk; fragments or the integral texts of sub-literary documents…; self-deprecatingly sloppy, often paranoid first-person reportage. There is a rancorous suspicion in America of whatever seems literary…, which partly accounts for the new appetite for… few words and many photographs.”
Fenylalanine Publishing has just released CanCon, a chapbook of poetry I wrote by mixing and mashing lyrics from some of Canada’s most overplayed musicians to see if collectively they can say more interesting things than they generally say alone. It is dedicated (with sincere apologies) to Bryan Adams, Barenaked Ladies, Michael Bublé, Celine Dion, Nickleback, and Shania Twain.
You can read it for free on Fenylalanine’s website.
My poem was a winner for Guelph Spoken Word’s Grounded: Relationships With Our Land competition. I’ll be reading it at the Grounded event on Saturday, April, 7:00 PM, at The Guelph Black Heritage Society.
The event is an evening of readings, performed works, and community spotlights focused on the many forms that a relationship with our land base – and the earth as a whole – can take. The cover is $10/PWYC.
Here’s a copy of the piece below.
I wrote this poem as an exercise in a workshop where we were given lines from other poems at random to be places to begin our own. I combined all of mine together, adding or changing almost nothing. I have no other use for it, but it amuses me, so I’ll leave it here. I apologize to the five poets who have been anonymously wronged by it.
Outside the tub
He found himself outside the tub again,
as if to amend an error,
his white suit a peerless lily
above the fingers of his left hand.
He said I should lie still and wait
until I felt the ocean.
It happens to people from any
of the main religions.
This is the fourth poem of Conversations with Viral Media, a series of publicly posted broadsheets that contain poems written in response to viral video, stills from those videos, and QR codes linking to the videos themselves. They are intended to comment on the way that viral videos can function as symptoms of our cultural dysfunction. They will be released periodically until I get bored. Links to all of the poems with their videos can be found on the Conversations with Viral Media page.
My wife and I laid in bed late this morning, made love while the kids binged on Saturday morning television, had a lazy shower.
Then she baked bread with browned butter for the party at our friend’s place this evening, and my eldest son made chocolate chip cookie’s for his friend’s birthday party this afternoon, and I sauteed batches of mushrooms and sweet onions for another friend’s fiftieth birthday tomorrow.
I’m reducing the extra onions into soup as I write this. The house is full of astringent sweetness, and of C.D. Wright’s reflections on the nature of poetry, and of “Paloma” by MESTIS.