It seems almost a platitude to say, but I don’t believe I’ve ever actually heard it said: just as our current poetry would have been unrecognizable to our ancestors, the poetry in existence after the next poetic revolution will be equally as unrecognizable to us. Without some training, of course. Then it will be the usual, as usual… which isn’t bad… as long as it’s good!
Though I suppose it’s as pointless to contemplate the future of poetry as it is to contemplate the contemplation of points, I still find it an amusing passtime. And I have my moments, sometimes dragged out over years, when I try to write something that is and is not poetry. I haven’t succeeded yet. All the poetry I’ve written is, though eccentric at times, clearly poetry… as is all other poetry being published these days. I suspect I’ll try again though. And I suspect the direction of the new will be where it’s always been in America, in the direction of greater freedom, of perceived limitlessness, just as our music tacked toward jazz and blues and rock and rap, our painting toward abstract expressionism, our poetry toward free verse and prose poetry and L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E.
Regardless of my ongoing interest in the ideological explanations offered for these movements, I’m convinced the fundamental reason for all their varied successes has been the liberating feelings they generate in their audiences. When someone says “What the hell? I could do that!” you’re probably in the proximity of a product of either the last liberating revolution or of the next. On the most fundamental level, the one that matters, it’s a compliment. These works allow people who aren’t artists, or, more importantly, who do not yet consider themselves artists, to feel that they too can make art. They feel a previously perceived limit lifted from their lives.