the task of poetry

January 22, 2019

The poem is an invention that exists in spite of history…In a time of violence, the task of poetry is in some way to reconcile us to our world and to allow us a measure of tenderness and grace with which to exist…Poetry’s task is to reconcile us to the world — not to accept it at face value or to assent to things that are wrong, but to reconcile one in a larger sense, to return us in love, the province of the imagination, to the scope of our mortal lives.

Meena Alexander
What use is poetry
Address to the Yale Political Union April 23, 2013

Porn

January 19, 2019

I would freaking love to do porn now. I’m more comfortable and more happy with my body than I have been in a very long time. And I would love to share that… for my own exhibitionistic pleasure, and for the sake of others. There aren’t a lot of role models for women of my age — I’m turning 50 at the end of this year — being openly and brazenly sexual, being comfortable and happy with their bodies and their sexualities and proudly celebrating them. I would love to be one of those role models. If I was ever going to do porn or nude pictures, now would be the time.

And I just don’t think I can. Not if I want to be taken seriously as a writer.

This really pisses me off. It pisses me off that, in order to be taken seriously as a female intellectual voice, I have to hold back my sexuality. Especially since it’s such a no-win situation. Women who are too sexual aren’t taken seriously, and women who aren’t sexual enough aren’t taken seriously. Women who are conventionally attractive get valued solely for their sexual appeal; women who aren’t conventionally attractive get dismissed for their lack of it. Women who are conventionally attractive are assumed to be dumb bimbos; women who aren’t conventionally attractive are assumed to be either bitter or desperate. Women who are conventionally attractive get trivialized; women who aren’t conventionally attractive get treated with pity and contempt. We can’t win.

Greta Christina
Why I probably won’t do Porn again

And this brings us to an issue that is never discussed: the dimly glimpsed truth that liking a book cannot, by itself, decide its overall quality. I’ll hurry past the issue with a few assertions:

● ‘Enjoyable is not the same as Good.’
● ‘Enjoyable can be Good.’
● ‘Good can be boring and still be Good.’
● ‘Boring may sometimes mean a work is Bad.’
● ‘Serious work can be entertaining.’
● ‘There are many values in fiction beyond entertainment. It can provoke interest and curiosity, elicit understanding and sympathy, make us feel and think, confront ourselves, and involve us in ways that intellectual discussion can’t – and do all this without being entertaining. In fact, it can be downright disturbing and frightening.’

George Zabrowski
Raising the Net: The C. P. Snow Lecture, Ithaca College, 6 April 1995

Contract…

March 13, 2016

sellyoursoul