Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Shards in the shade"   [villanelle]


Ten thousand publishing poets   were praying and preening
ten thousand pondering poets   were plying their trade
seven thousand were angsting   three thousand at most serening

eight hundred and fifty esthetics   were gamely gleaming
sixty-seven aubades met nine hundred and four serenades
ten thousand publishing poets   were praying and preening

some argued for sound   some favored the moxie of meaning
some shattered the syntax   sorting the shards in the shade
seven thousand were angsting   three thousand perhaps serening

from the field of the news of the world   six thousand were gleaning
on the personal stone   nine thousand were whetting the blade
ten thousand publishing poets   were praying and preening

four thousand were hearting   two thousand I think were spleening
statistically meaningless dozens   were eyeing the maid
seven thousand were angsting   three thousand perchance serening

how many were spatting?   how many were poking and beaning?
so many were wooing!   what wars!   such loves being made!
ten thousand publishing poets   were praying and preening
seven thousand were angsting   three thousand at best serening




==========

Responsive to this passage from Ron Silliman's blog:
In the late 1940s, the U.S. had a population of rough[ly] 150 million people and saw in any given year the publication of roughly 8,000 book titles of all kinds. There were maybe 200 publishing poets in the U.S. The U.K. and Canada were distinctly different markets in those days. Today we have 300 million people in the U.S., and last year there some 174,000 different titles published (a drop, actually, of about 16,000 from the previous year), of which perhaps 4,000 were books of poetry. There are at least 10,000 publishing poets and the borders between markets have become fully permeable in the age of the internet, where the most influential online zine for American poetry is published by John Tranter in Australia. Finding an audience is a far more daunting proposition for a new poet, even if she or he gets a book published. Discerning any shape to the overall landscape may simply appear impossible.

5 comments:

keros said...

David - Check the spelling of "meaningless".

Cleverly done-

DQ

david raphael israel said...

thanks, good catch; (meaningless & misspelled is one attribute too many). Caveat: some statistics asserted may have a wide margin of error. (Also, the implication that angsters and sereners are mutually exclusive populations, may merit critique, investigation, and peer review.)

keros said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
keros said...

75% of all statistics are made up on the spot. It's a well known rule accepted by bullshitters and according to our code of conduct, no statistics will be questioned.

david raphael israel said...

<< 75% of all statistics are made up on the spot.>>
Which 25% of this statistic had antecedent existence?
(Or if there is only one numerical statistical item given, then I guess 75% gets rounded up to the nearest 100%?) But it seems plausible that 100% of that 75% was made up on the spot. (Which renders its veracity numerically daunting; technically, it could be a correct guess, even if inadvertantly so.)
I'm glad I didn't go into a number-crunching profession.

word verif: fhuuulha