Friday, March 30, 2007


When I go to the Housing Works Thrift Shop [I frequenty three different ones] I always look through the book shelves for poetry books. I seldom fine even one. Today I found about four feet of poetry! When you consider most poetry books are less than half an inch thick, that's a lot of poetry. Actuallly many were poetry literary magazines {books really} . I bought seven, at $1 each! While I love bargains, it's a crying shame, even in a thrift store, that poetry is so cheaply available. I should probably go back and buy some more...

A couple days ago I read an interview with Lawrence Ferlinghetti [picture above] who is 85 and still going strong. He was the publisher of the Beat poetry, a poet himself, of course, and still active in the San Francsico poetry "scene". He told the interviewer, from Poets and Writers magazine, that his recent book has not been reviewed by anyone. She checked this out on the internet and found it true and asked didn't this upset him:? He answered that there are two cultures: the media culture which is currently hyping every old and fledgling "celebrity" for their fifteen minutes of fame; and then there is the culture made up of wrtiers, artists, professors and serious readers [I'm paraphrasing]. He says that when global warming really hits and elecltricity goes off, people will go back to reading as the parallel culture always has done.

I love the idea. But unfortunately I don't think he's right. The fossil fuels will be used up but elecricity is so important the engineers will finally move in panic to use wind. solar and nuclear power so they don't have to turn off the lights and the gadgets. It's going to be a lot harder for the manufacturers who depend on plastic, which comes from the fossils too. They'll have to learn to recycle maybe all those dumps of cars and cell phones and Pampers. But they'll learn to do it, and in a hurry when the crunch comes. Still, yes, I beleive people will continue reading and maybe even reading actual books and magazines ... maybe.

Certainly people will continue writing. Words and actual ideas will continue to fascinate the few minds that manage to get educated, just as colors and shapes will continue to fascinate those with visual talents. And, of cousre, music will continue. Yes, I agree with Ferlinghetti that there are parallel cultures and that they will continue. I tried to read an essay on the computer screen that was sent to me in a email this week -- I just couldn't find the structure, the flow of ideas. I'm sure it was a fine essay but not in pixels! Not for my eyes. I have more than four feet of poetry books to read; I read poetry slowly [often reading a poem more than once] so that's going to take some time ... hurray! How many perceptive minds will touch me? What insights will I get? What appreciations will I understand? What questions will they ask? I look forward to finding out.

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