Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Friday, March 18, 2016

Poets

One orders French wine and quizzes me about
who (what poets) I know and what I've read.
He's not quite insufferable.  He seems to think
he's hot shit. I start to get bored.

Another one sings a verse of a bluegrass song
on voice-mail--in tune, on pitch, with a
Carolina accent.  And another

edits a prestigious anthology which a
prestigious scholar skewers in a review,
and I don't care because their prestige
seems like a well preserved automobile
from 1936. Plus with the Internet,

anthologies don't matter, and
prestige is a penny stock.

Millions of others are just starting,
farting around with words.  It's a fine
thing to try to imagine: millions of poets
writing, clotting in cafes, tapping
on screens, falling asleep after
a swing-shift, wondering why White
people are so crazy, trying to get
another poet in bed.

Me: never prestigious, my obscurity
well seasoned, robust, full bodied.
The fascination with poetry stays
fresh.  The uncertainty about poetry's
place in society enlarges.

Anyway, it's one word. After another.


hans ostrom 2016
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