I only skirted the edges of the institutionalization of poetry, the formal instruction in the study and writing of poetry in educational institutions, as a teacher of literature and creative writing among other subjects–-earning my living along the way in the last decades of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st century. I helped in the education of students, in their acquisition of a common and essential base for their advancement in the system of learning, helped them to write English, to write essays on many subjects so that they could pass exams at least to some extent and as best I could engender through my several teaching skills. I did this in primary, secondary and post-secondary schools, colleges and universities.
Perhaps some of those students I taught over those decades would find their creativity, their genius, and their home in the world of writing but most, I’m sure, would only be helped “to put bread on the table,” as they say. Few would be those who in time would come to immerse themselves in creative literary expression and, of those few, only a small handful---if any at all---would come to exemplify Ezra Pound’s imperative to be original, to be uninfluenced and to “make their work new.”1 -Ron Price with thanks to 1Ruediger Heinze’s review of Paul Hoover’s Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology, W. W. Norton & Company, NY, 1994---‘The Dream of the Unified Field’: Originality, Influence, The Idea of a National Literature and Contemporary American Poetry,’ in the European Journal of American Studies, Volume 2, 2008.
Current poetry, and certainly mine, is based on the rhythms
of speech, on a reinforced oral tradition….This can be seen
in open-mic readings frequently held in public venues which
I used to take on years ago. Now my writing is private….it is
the least public of traditional literary genres, but it gets read by
many thousands in cyberspace. Whitman’s invitation of poetry
is still true for me–---“Stran ger, if in passing you meet me----
and desire to speak, why should you not speak to me?/
And why should I not speak to you?”1
1 Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley, eds., W. W. Norton & Company, NY, 1965, p.14. These simple lines from this famous American poet define or express the base, the basis, of much of the conversation I have had in life and some of the very raison d’etre of the poetry I have initiated and which others have read.
29 August 2010