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Great historical trauma has always produced great literature. World War I produced a Lost Generation, robbed of their comforting societal myths by the harsh realities of trench warfare. World War II, with its Holocausts and Atomic Weapons, produced a generation of Beat poets — exhausted with what James Joyce dubbed “the nightmare of history.” Many of these poets grew from 1950s dropouts into poetic activists. They wrote against a human rights nightmare, what our country called The Vietnam War. Out of that war came poets like Bruce Weigl — a vet writer who confronts his own flashbacks in fragmented narrative verse. It’s an historical constant: trauma shatters. Poets pick up the pieces.
And no poet alive in America today has escaped this reality. September 11, 2001 ripped away our national illusions as violently as the trenches of World War I dislocated the poetic mind of Wilfred Owen. Our economic collapse may eventually be as shocking to the planet as World War II once was. And of course, we have our own human rights nightmares that most people try to ignore.
So if you want to be a contemporary poet in 2012-13, write about what it means to be alive at this point in human “progress.” Write about how this world feels to you. Create your own poetic emotional archive of this mess, this wreckage, these United States of the American Waste Land.
Poem: “Wichita Vortex Sutra #3″ by Allen Ginsberg
(Music by Phillip Glass)
“There is a secret medicine given only to those who hurt so hard they can’t hope. The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.”
I’m writing to thank you for sharing in the poetry of #CBAnthology» so far. I believe that disseminating poetry can save us all! But even if you don’t buy into that, you can still enjoy these pages. Share them. Poems are good for you. They’re healing, affirming, reassuring, and we can all use some of that these days, I’m sure.
To that end, I’m offering this growing collection of poetry to my suffering world — my people. I ache for us often. This is my gift of the words that helped me through suffocating darkness. When everything seemed lost, when I was stunned numb by trauma, these poems and poets — conventional and unconventional — reminded me how it felt to be human. They gave voice to my pain, to my loneliness, and eventually, with enough time and reinforcement, to my restored joy.
This is how I’m spending my summer, post-PhD Assault»: healing myself, for the third time in my life, with poems. I’ve got a lot of poetry locked up in my head. And more than a few stories left to tell. I assure you, I’m just getting warmed up.
Yes, It’s poetry, poetics and writing for me, instead of eating, and praying, and loving. Smile. You’re all very welcome to follow along.
And please do comment. I’d love to chat poetry with you. Until then…
» @CharlesBivona «
And please remember,
Sang Lee is dead.
If You Need a Mental Health Break