Tuesday, January 01, 2008


My own note from last January 1st still seems to me the best possible advice:

My resolution for this year remains essentially the same one I’ve had for two years now:

Blog better, blog less.

There is, I think, a direct relationship between the two halves of this equation. But it is going to mean overcoming my own anxieties about blank space & silence. And maybe yours too.

There is, to my mind, no particular reason to revisit the same issues endlessly, tho I know I do have my own hobby horses. And there is no reason to write a five-page essay when a message this short can serve the same purpose.

I have an additional goal this year, which would be to get the blogroll into order. It’s wildly out of date and takes far too much energy to try to keep track of. I wonder if anyone uses it anymore as a stepping stone to other blogs?

One problem is that the fastest growing category of blogs other than new blogs is dead blogs. There is, so to speak, a lot of “churn” over the course of any given year. Further, as blogs have evolved, there are new kinds of them, for example for magazines, for events. Some people on this blogroll have as many as four separate blogs – my rule has always been to list the one I felt was most relevant to this list.

But it may be that it would be a much stronger list if in fact it was much shorter. One thing I’ve been doing has been seeing what percentage of poets seem to have a blog – with just under 1,000 poetry-relevant blogs in the roll to the left, a one-in-ten ratio leads me to my number of publishing poets in English of 10,000.

My goal in blogging, back in the dark dinosaur days of 2002, was to get other poets going in the process of thinking out loud in public, creating a public discourse. On that point, I’ve been successful beyond my imagination. A secondary goal was to talk about the books that mattered to me – if I haven’t had any success with that, I have only myself to blame. A third was to share my sense of where we were & are in the history of poetry, particularly in the United States. A fourth and not unrelated goal was to raise awareness of the School that Dare Not Speak Its Name and its institutional role in American poetry. A fifth was to have fun. In all, I can’t complain – but I’ve got a comments stream for that.

Perhaps the best result, for me personally, of doing a blog has been the almost instant education I’ve gotten as to what’s going on in poetry that I wasn’t especially aware of before I began this project. It’s changed my sense of who’s writing, why, where & even how. It’s really really really hard not to want the poetry of tomorrow to look just like what one is most comfortable with about the poetry of today (or yesterday, for that matter). But you and I know that won’t work. The poetry of tomorrow will have to be fully engaged with the world of that time, and the most we can do is to midwive it into being.

So this seems like a good point to acknowledge everybody who’s taught me something through this process, whether through a note in the comments stream, an email, a comment on a blog elsewhere or through sending me books, magazines, manuscripts, CDs & DVDs, hand-drawn envelopes, newspaper clippings or “excerpts” from package wrapping. Thank you for your generosity.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?