Poetry and Public: Just who are we all writing for?

Or what are we all waiting for?

So what would it take to reinvest in poetry as public art? How might poetry be re-imagined beyond this anxious situation—somewhere between the courtly privacies it cultivates and the popular magazine-ese of consumer culture? This is the dilemma. Part of the problem remains uniquely American, because America has hated forever anything with a mind compelled by nonconformist principals (though mass culture is quick and expert at flipping “nonconformism” in all spheres as a means of extending and systematizing conformity). But the reason a public matters is because somewhere between the communal factions and the popular expectations of mass culture, the negotiations of human life in words and images and acts continue as a serious consideration. The generic or formal concerns of poetry do not matter as much as the understanding of how a public can matter to the strategic formation and delivery of poems into public context...

Or yes, exact, as they say. Exact.

Today on Poetry Foundation by the way, tying up this post to the earlier post on nature writing.  Those who say poetry does, or should do nothing can kiss my–couplet?

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