Start with a basic, but charged, question: What is a poet? A poet is someone who writes/ produces/ creates poems, right? Well, I have a whole book (What is a Poet? -ed. Hank Lazer) that is saying "kinda". There is a lot more to it apparently, since Romantics went and soiled the show for our bodies and flattered our egos ever since. But I want to stick to my bowdlerization for the time being to go on and pose the problematic: What is poetry? What is a poem? Aside from the odd fossils that seem to lurk in many (not all) English departments and/or who get serious enjoyment from reading poetry in the New Yorker/ Times Literary Supplement/ etc (unusefully termed "mainstream"), I think there are few who would hold to the idea that poetry is the art of constructing lines that are rhythmic and employ a finite number or literary devices termed "poetic". Much seems to be being said about referentiality right now..the poem should/ should not (please delete as appropriate) have an internal coherence.. or something of the sort. {leave this unfinished} I will admit that I no longer know what a poem is. I have a fairly good idea about what it was. My thinking at this time is that what a poem is can no longer be secured by virtue of it's history because by doing so the poem is entering the dust filled myopic halls of flattery and affirmation (other wise known as back-slapping). In other words, the poem enters a world where its existence is already verified by the previous similitudes of itself..I guess in epistemology this might be called recognition. This is not the only reason, however. The extension of this problem is that by placing the poem in this literary environment, it cuts off from a much grander source (its own source) of the combined arts, sciences, and even (this is uncomfortable for me), business. It is often said that poetry is 20 years behind art.. and, though this is often untrue, why would this idea come about? In my view, from the stilted dialogue that each art, especially literary arts, has come into the habit of not participating in. Well, I'll try to clear up this minefield I've left for myself tomorrow. I'll publish this anyhow, just to see what happens.

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