Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bohemiate!   [ghazal]

I really think there are too many distractions for the average poet these days. Used to be a poet would hole up in some garret and bohemiate. Now there's blogging, workshopping, reviewing, your own promotional web site, and if you're an academic -- oh, yes, teaching and publishing. There are too many other things connected to poetry besides reading and writing it.

      -- Rachel Dacus, Rocket Kids

Let nor web nor blog impede       bohemiate!
damn the torpedoes (& screw the greed)   bohemiate!

time was   you would gaze for days   out literal windows!
it used to be   one could run to seed       & bohemiate

the sullen streets   wax buoyant               in wan memory
as smoke-filled caf├Ęs bloomed bittersweet   we'd bohemiate

with readings!   (literal readings         not effete postings!)
your insouciant heart could express its need   to bohemiate

the game of chess   amid ambient space   on a literal board?
with a physical newspaper (smudged indeed)     bohemiate

non-digital : acoustic : pre-proto-rap : Ur "spoken word"!
offline : offphone : offcolor : offcreed         bohemiate!

Ardeo!   has Dacus now thrown down the gauntlet?       go!
where's your lorn beret? & your flute of reed?     bohmeiate


Blogger Nettie said...


Thu Dec 22, 02:39:00 PM PST  
Blogger Indeterminacy said...

You've described what's real. It makes me think of blogs as bubbles affecting nothing, waiting to burst into nothing, leaving nothing behind.

Thu Dec 22, 05:47:00 PM PST  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

Ah, but that "real" stuff may also be amazingly bubble-like!
ps: nonetheless, I somewhat agree with you, Indie. (Also, thanks Nettie.)
pps: but only somewhat. The grass may look greener on the other side of the digital divide? Life and poetry exist in various forms of manifestation. What's thought, written, uttered by a human being (particularly one in whom the plant of self-awareness is undergoing growth) has an element of inherent dignity (which is as much as to say, a certain cosmic status), regardless of incidentals of medium, publication (or not), etc. It's said Blake allowed his work was "published" when written (not when printed). The internet adds an odd potential of seeming literalness to this olden observation! -- but . . . well at any rate, a search for reality (and poss. rueful sense of its residing elsewhere) is part of the deal, in various quarters.

Thu Dec 22, 07:00:00 PM PST  
Blogger ~River~ said...

I agree with what you just said (in your comment, not your poem). Articulation of the self always shows an evolving consciousness. We ought to wonder why so many people have taken to blogging. Hundreds of blogs are created every minute...What urges people on? Wherein lies the seduction?

Now, Blake in this context...that's interesting too. He refused to 'mass-produce'/publish most of his best-known work; instead choosing to painstakingly draw, colour, write his own plates. Can internet publication really be called Blakean? His anxiety over technology complicates this further, no?

Fri Dec 23, 05:59:00 AM PST  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

these are some most interesting (and, no doubt, complicated) points. What you remark about Blake makes me curious to learn a bit more about his thoughts & views on such things.

When you mention his nervousness about mass production (versus his much-delighted-in (by himself & eventually others) painstaking individual handcrafted work), I'm not sure whether either of those models (the mass-produced, versus the handcrafted) exactly fits this thing we find as web-publication. It is a third type of thing, only similar by metaphor with one or the other side of the Blakean teeter-totter. Or it seems so. More to the point, I'd argue (tentatively) that it apparently belongs in some respects on one side, in some respects on the other side. Depending on what aspects of it one focuses on. The individual artist (especially if a really skilled web-designer -- a skill which can bring visual presentation to a more nuanced level, a level not perhaps generally seen in cookie-cutter blogs -- but this seems a mere question of degree) can, in the handicraft self-production of computer publishing, possibly draw upon a Blake-like range of artistic, self-expressive resources. At the same time, given the established channels of "distribution" ["mass production" normally implies REproduction in multiples of an identical item; but the nature of the internet and computers in general really messes up this concept; the analogy doesn't hold; what could seem "reproduction" actually amounts to "distribution" of what is, since digital, an essentially identical item -- in fact a self-same item, a copy only in the sense of various computers needing to download the same bundle of 0s & 1s . . .] -- whew, I think I'm losing the train of my thought, but maybe this suffices to sketch its outline & direction withal.

So: Blake would (I'd opine), living in our time, most likely need radically to reformulate the problems & issues involved: since the dichotomy he felt himself aface (given the technology of his time) seems quite significantly different in nature & quality from whatever might be the (possibly analogous) dichotomies confronting a creative person in our own era.

Perhaps it could be interesting to try to imagine how Blake would comport himself in the early 21st century.... This seems even (speaking completely idly now) an amusing possible topic for a multimedia theatrical work.

Songs of Innocence & Experience: a 21st Century Redux {?}


Fri Dec 23, 07:12:00 AM PST  
Blogger Rachel Dacus said...

David --

This little ghazal is a charmer. Made me laugh and feel nostalgic at the same time. I feel my new verb "bohemiate" has been duly honored. Hope you have a poetic Christmas!


Sat Dec 24, 08:21:00 PM PST  

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