Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Sound of Emptiness

An acquaintance of mine who is involved in the poetry scene in the big city tells me there is a "new wave" in poetry happening at open mikes. I forget what she said they call it.It seems the main purpose is to put together only beautiful words, to form images, metaphors and similes that have not been used before, that sound fantastic and outrageous. The problem, in her mind and mine, seems to be that no one cares about the meaning of the poems anymore. Poetry has become, using Shakespeare's image, "sound and fury signifying nothing."

Now I'm all for the beauty of language, for the magic of sound spoken or unspoken. I believe it is and must remain an integral part of poetry. Inflections, rhythms, rhymes, alliterations, assonances and all the underlying music is the root of poetry. But ...

When there is no meaning there is nothing communicated. When poetry becomes such a solitary pursuit that it doesn't matter if no connection between human beings is sought, why bring it out before the public at all. The only joy is the stroking of the ego that fabricated it. For the rest of us it remains an inexplicable emptiness.

I myself have used images in non-traditional ways, using them to build a mood or a level of emotion. In such a role, the words and sound of the words take on a greater meaning not obvious at first. But I would never claim that they didn't mean at all, conveyed only what the hearer/reader wanted them to mean.

Is this where postmodernism and the deconstructionists have led us?

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Surely a poem has to be about 'something'. It doesn't have to be in your face obvious, but there has to be something there.