Rhys Trimble is a bilingual poet, private tutor and performer working in north Wales. Rhys has published poetry in Poetry Wales, Tears in the Fence, Seventh Quarry, Coffee House Poetry, Aesthetica, Skald and various other magazines.
Previous articles by Rhys:
Who the fuck cares? Eh? Really though, who does? masturbatory poets? poets on the underground, the poet laureate? the greetings card industry? Poets on the dole? Poetry is seen as a niche activity by most ordinary folk. The weakness in popularity of poetry as an artform in popular culture as compared with music & visual art is obvious & self-explanatory to poetry's detractors. So why do we do it? Bukowski says (yes him again!): 'poetry contains as much energy as the hollywood industry, as much energy as a broadway play.' This is true. Poetry can combine elements of music, visual art in line spacing, metric rhythms, alongside direct transmission of ideas through meaning & the human voice.
And yet late capitalistic Britain really hasn't found much use for poetry, even the most avant-garde visual artist can expect a certain degree of perceived success, why this is I don't know; visual art, like poetry is a transmitter of ideas, perhaps by being made up of words poetry is more dangerous, or less. What poetry there is in receipt any sort of attention or funding is very conservative compared to the visual arts. Nobody seems to want to pay for the poetic equivalent of cutting a cow in half and throwing it into a tank of formaldehyde.
The problem is that few people outside poetry and a fair number within english poetry have no idea what a good poem looks or sounds like. In music this trait is far less evident, there are few bands who can't play their instruments & make a success of it. The poetry scene is sadly replete with performance/retiree/vanity publishing neo-wordsworthians who haven’t read widely enough to evaluate their own work performing it to a largely bewildered audience. Perhaps writing is too easy; after all no special equipment appears to be necessary. This has lead to the proliferation of amateurs & unfortunately adds to the negative impression that poetry & poets project.
Luckily there are people in the audiences of poetry nights who know what they like & are searching out some genuinely original and passionate voices, & likewise poets who by instinct or inclination go that extra mile to learn their craft & write their innermost to produce good work. Poetry demands a critical faculty which is something acquired through effort, something which Globalisation/ Mass media/ consumer society doesn't want you to have. In the other art forms, & in general you have to sift through the bullshit to get to the good stuff & poetry is no different.
Posted: 30th September 2009