Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Poetry is like wine.

Why? Because I don't think I would know good poetry or wine, but I sure as heck can spot bad poetry or wine.

I'm reading Ann Rice's "Memnoch the Devil", on my wife's recommendation. Despite the fact that I have never read any of her other vampire novels, it's okay, because the first chapter is basically an extended, "Previously, on The Adventures of The Vampire Lestat...". So far, the book is pretty good, but, for those of you who don't know, Ms. Rice usually peppers her books with poetry by her now late husband. Here's an example, from the beginning of the book.

Duet on Iberville Street

The man in black leather
Buying a rat to feed his python
Does not dwell on particulars.
Any rat will do.
While walking back from the pet store
I see a man in a hotel garage
Carving a swan in a block of ice
With a chain saw.

Stan Rice, 30 Jan 94

Deep, huh. Here's another, just for giggles. He's so defiant.

What God did not plan on

Sleep well,
Weep well,
Go to the deep well
As often as possible.
Bring back the water,
Jostling and gleaming.
God did not plan on consciousness
Developing so
Well. Well,
Tell Him our
Pail is full
And He can
Go to Hell.

Stan Rice, 24 June 93

Keep in mind that I'm sure Stan and Ann used what they considered his "best" poems. I'd hate to see what they considered his mediocre, or even bad poems. Some of my friends and I used to sit around (drinking beer) and reading poetry aloud from a probably self published book of poetry called "Heat Lightning", by I don't remember who. Bad bad stuff, but not as bad as Stan's stuff, I think. The HL author used the line "Cement Colored Eyes" way too often, and each poem was a bitter rant against a woman. We added punch to each poem by adding the ending line, "You Bitch!", which only made us laugh all the harder. I think that just like some people who make their own wine convince themselves that it is good, despite the fact that it tastes like paint, some people have been taught that pretense + poetry = good. I know that I couldn't write a poem to save my life, but at least I know that. Happy Labor Day


michael said...

Interesting outlook. I'm sure that the drinking beer makes the poetry better. Of course, it also makes you sound like a bunch of redneck hicks sitting around deriding those who were at least willing to put themselves out there for the world to see. Try having an actual thought for yourself once in a while.

Red said...

MY goodness I thought I was the only one who though his poetry was dreadful