I have often had a discussion with non-poets and their feelings after attending an innovative event (reading or festival) and they reported a feeling of perplexity. Not because they didn’t enjoy the work. Some hated poetry, or at least disliked it, but often really enjoyed the variety of work at an innovative poetry event. No . . . they were asked if they too were a poet and when the said “no, but I enjoy the work” the conversation ended and they felt outed.
It is a silly question but . . . . . . can non-poets attend innovative/experimental poetry events????
Some of these same folks have also mentioned the word “hobby.” And I say no way. it is not a hobby. It is a whole way of life. POETRY is not a hobby damn it. Or maybe being a “language artist” is better than the word poet?
If poetry events become a closed club of self congratulation maybe it resembles a hobby.
or perhaps it is a religion.
We need more candour. We need more connections to the other arts. As quite a few folks have mentioned, innovative poetry could have a much larger audience. Say . . . the audience for innovative jazz, indie music, theatre, and so on.
And haven’t some critiques been written about that whole dichotomy between art and entertainment!!!
While I may not agree with everything written about Soundeye (if I attended this year), it is a step in the right direction.
The Openned community in London gives me hope as well!!!