Saturday, May 16, 2009
Poets Who Would Have Blogged
(image: Emily Dickinson, the best poet ever)
A simple speculative question, with no falsifiable answers: Which poets from the pre-blogging era would have blogged?
Homer? Yes. Although digitally print-related, blogging has much in keeping with an oral tradition out of which Homer sprang. Same goes for Virgil, who imitated Homer in every way.
Rumi? Yes. Rumi was an expansive, garrulous sort. What's not to like about blogging?
Martial? A tough call. He loved to gossip. But he may have made fun of new-fangled things.
Dante? No. However, he may have invented an additional circle of Hell for bloggers, if need be. (The might fit in existing circles.)
Chaucer? Yes. Geoff had the gift of gab. Same goes for Shakespeare, who would have found a way to revolutionize the genre. (In my poetry class this term, we decided that a good alternative name for Shakespeare was Master Shake, performance poet.)
Li Po? Yes.
Marvell and Donne? Probably, but within small circles. One would have had to subscribe to the blog.
Samuel Johnson? Why blog when you have the human blogging-software as your best friend (Boswell)? On the other hand, Johnson was such a social, verbally combative sort that he may not have been able to resist blogging. In one draft, he would have produced a sculpted, perfect essay.
Alexander Pope? No. Blogging wouldn't be traditional enough, and it would have been great satiric fodder for him.
Basho? Absolutely. Blogging on the road with a laptop. Collaborative blogging.
Wordsworth? Yes. Many posts about childhood memories and Dorothy, and childhood memories, and memories, and Wordsworth, and Dorothy, and childhood memories, and Wordsworth. Oy.
De Quincey? Maybe late at night, after the pharmaceuticals were brought on board?
Byron? Yes. Leigh Hunt? Absolutely. A journalist at heart.
Blake? Yes, if he could bring all the funky graphics on board. Oh, my: Imagine Blakean blog-posts!
Tennyson? Not so much. Arnold, no. But he would have written a poem complaining about blogs.
Emily Dickinson? Absolutely a perfect form for her. She could communicate with the world but maintain her privacy. Her posts would have been cryptic, brief, wry, and perfect.
Whitman. Are you kidding me? Blogging was made for Walt. "Blog of Myself."
Eliot? No. Pound? No. Blogging would have too much to do with the unwashed masses for their tastes. We are the hollow bloggers, we are the stuffed bloggers. Do I dare to blog?
Williams Carlos Williams? All over it. Langston Hughes? All over it. Imagine the sheer number of emails, not to mention blog-posts, Langston would have written.
C.P. Cavafy? A tough call, but no.
Auden? Yes. Spender? No. Larkin. Hmmmm.
Yeats? Absolutely not.
Marianne Moore? Oh, yes.
Irving Layton? Yes. For a variety of motives.
Neruda. Hmmm. Uh, yes.
Baudelaire, yes, Brautigan, yes, Victor Hugo no. Rimbaud, yes.
Goethe? Ah, come one. Germans and technology? Yes.