I want to stop clicking, scrolling and speed-reading and shuffling on to the next song, and instead focus on poetry which stays still and feels something. And this is what I want to write too. Not unmediated self-expression, of course, but not pre-emptively cut off with a glib reflex. The old disconnection, between inner whirring cogs and outside world, have to engage somehow – and for this reason, I don’t think that the teaching of creative writing is necessarily a bad thing, as long as the students have something ready to work with. (God knows it’s better than encouraging them to be also academic critics). Above all, I have recently come to think that it is essential to think that among the tiny, fragmented audience for poetry, and perhaps even among those who just use the language, there might be some with whom I might communicate sincerely – or reasonably sincerely. Amid all the other kinds of technological communication, both shockingly intimate and weirdly superficial, I have to think that poetry can do something unique. That – perhaps because it doesn’t have an easy brand to sell, and will almost certainly not be trending any time soon – it can communicate something a bit more complex and lasting. But then a lifetime of defensive irony is a hard habit to break so, yeah, like, what do I know?
- Leontia Flynn, on living an irony-free life, over at the Edinburgh Review. You can read the whole thing here.
Thanks to the Vehicule Press blog for pointing this out.