Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What is it good for

I recently read somewhere that when one is writing, one is, "of course", not living. Depending on one's definition of living, that could, arguably, be true. 'Not a pleasant thought for a writer. Of course comfort can be found in knowing that when one is writing one is recording what it is to be living. And so starts the real argument, often captured by the oft-cited quotes:


Poetry does nothing. – W.H. Auden

It's hard to get the news from poems, but men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there - William Carlos Williams

But are these positions mutually exclusive? If mainstream culture is any reflection, poetry, it's true, is not doing much, and I would assert, equally as true is that people are dying "miserably every day for lack of what is found there." And if this is true, then poetry and all art is always important, but even more urgently vital at a time when tens of thousands of Americans, Iraqis, and others, are indeed dying because of the commands of a President who, seemingly elated with his role as Commander-in-Chief, boasted, "Bring it on!"; at a time when most every major phone company has been secretly providing the government with millions of Americans' phone records; at a time when children in the richest country on earth have a 1 in 4 chance of being born into poverty; at a time when many in government, as well as many in citizenry, are persuaded by chemical companies and oil conglomerates to act as if global warming is just a little bit more summer; at a time when it is representative of how dire things are to simply remember that George W. Bush is the leader of the "free world."

The word "siren" can be defined as a warning; something that cautions people to a danger or important event; a sound or sight that alerts. On the belief that any and all art can be and often is an alert, a small and not yet very loud, but earnest and aspiring Siren will soon be sounding. For more information, to contribute a small donation of money or any amount of artistic energy, or to submit quality poetry, visual art, short fiction or nonfiction (for the second issue), contact me by way of e-mail.

10 comments:

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, Sara. I'll watch for Siren.

cheers,
GI

SarahJane said...

yes, your zine looks promising!
good luck

Larry Contrary said...

Sara, I like the poetry debate. I look forward to more. But, as for the politics, it tends to ruin the pudding.

"It's easier to talk about politics/ than to allow the terror that shares/ both of our bedrooms to find words."
-- Marilyn Hacker

sara kearns said...

My old Block Buddy Glenn! 'so good to hear from you! Let's talk soon. Oh, and great blog you have -- once I have a minute to bring my head out of Siren's waters, I will put a little work into this blog and will put a link to yours if you'd like.

And a note to others: check out Glenn's blog and website; he's a talented poet, and a real nice guy!

sara kearns said...

sarahj.... great recommendation on the book; great quiz; thank you! your blog isamong the few really fun ones out there. interactive -- fun, fun, fun. thanks for the kind words of support about the zine.

oh, hey, as great as your quiz was -- maybe sara/sarah should have been a choice -- you've got a great name. *grin*

sara kearns said...

larry, thanks for stopping by. oh, and don't worry, there will be PLENTY of bedrooms in Siren, and wherever there are bedrooms, there are terrors, it's true, so there will be plenty of that too.

and being a feminist, i of course believe wholeheartedly that the personal is political, and the political, personal.

i certainly never intended to set up a blatantly, and certainly not narrowly, "political" journal. and i don't think i've written a blantantly political poem since i was about twenty. but i also believe that all art is political in that it either maintains or challenges the status quo. and, oh, how i believe, like williams, that poeple "die miserably everyday for a lack of what is found there."

so i hope you check siren out after 1 july. oh yeah, lots of bedroom, definitely no boardroom, and no oval office i'm quite sure. we've got some great poets and other artists contributing, so too bad there won't be any visit from the oval office -- i'm quite certain that if anyone could interject some humanity into the cold remains of that sometimes heroic ground, it would be the poets, the artists. I sent out a very reverent post-it note to the President inviting him to share in our inaugural celebration, but I don't expect to hear from him, there being a threat to heterosexual marriage going around and all.

I do hope you'll come by the website, though, and let us know what you think. Ah, speech, discourse -- aint America grand?

Thanks again for your response; since my bedroom's been pretty lonely lately, democracy and its dialogue seem awfully romantic to me these days.

Sincerely,

Sara

SarahJane said...

thanks, sara. i look forward to reading Siren.

i did worry that i might recommend books people already have...

see you

david raphael israel said...

Sara --
phrases invoking Homer's tale of the Sirens came to mind on seenig mention of your new journal; but not till googling (& thus refreshing memory) did I recollect a fine detail of the olden tale: that Odysseus himself, wishing to hear the Sirens' fabled song, did not stop his ears (but rather, had himself tied to the boat's mast -- so he could both hear & survive).

cheers,
d.i.

carolina said...

Hi Sara,
Can I be one of yr. comrades? i took about a thousand years off to waitress but i just went back to school. now i'm in St. Louis waiting to go to grad school, lonely and bored. (not counting my groovy partner) I like your blog alot & will be going back. best, carolyn creedon

sara kearns said...

Carolyn, Are you still out there anywhere? 'Seems like I waited tables for thousands of years, too. And seems like a thousand years too, since before I even received your comment, that I had been trying to find your email, blog, or such, address, as your work is among my most favorite. Your poetry uber rocks.