(submitted for approval, revision, expansion, and afterthought)
The New Black Bart Poetry Society is a loosely affiliated group of writers and inquisitive citizens coming together to examine, with the object of providing a lively discussion, the arcane roots of this particular art as well as that of current practice and its role in a future in which elevated discourse is available in a diverse array of media alternatives.
The art of poetry is at a crossroad (again). Social interaction has gone from a single track village culture to a globalized superhighway interchange. Has poetry kept up? Is a poet what poetry uses to make a poem? Why is poetry a crime? Is poetry merely an antiquated information delivery system? These will be among the many interesting and fascinating concerns addressed through presentations and lectures (there will be no poetry reading, per se) featured, discussed and debated at Society functions.
A literary association such as The New Black Bart Poetry Society is not without precedent. In one respect it is modeled on the Georgian salons and in another on the Alfred Jarry School of Pataphysics. Breton’s Surrealist conclaves, Queneau’s witty brain child, OuLiPo (Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle; Workshop for Potential Literature), and the spirit of Darrell Gray’s Actualist Movement also serve as models. It is the Society’s aim to move the appraisal and appreciation of poetry out of restrictive institutional forums and represent it in a more accessible and commonplace milieu.
Pierre Bourdieu makes the point that to be an autodidact is illegal since all knowledge is subject to sanction by institutions of higher learning. Similarly, poetry has found itself under academic strictures and sanctioned programs that often exclude those poets who are called by the muse and not the ambitions of career. Thus, unsanctioned poetry can be considered a crime, and those poets who practice it deemed outlaws. The Society’s aim then is to encourage a dialogue on poetry and its diverse and related subjects and make it available to anyone, free of the constraint imposed by institutional hierarchy.
The New Black Bart Poetry Society, however, is not a school of poetry nor does it endorse or espouse a particular philosophy of poetry. The Society is open to all ideas and notions as to what makes a poem and what constitutes poetry, and actively seeks dialogue on all issues vis-a-vis poetry without necessarily wishing to actually define it. Rather it prefers to circumscribe the subject much the same way that the energy signature of an event horizon circumscribes a singularity.
The New Black Bart Poetry Society will entertain most any presentation on the art of poetry, its past, its present, and its future. Explications, delineations, categorizations, taxonomies, and various sundry groupings of poets and their work are of vital interest to the Society membership. The Society will also make an effort to seek out divergent points of view. Lectures and talks will be posted monthly on The New Black Bart Poetry Society’s blog along with meeting minutes. Guidelines for submissions of prepared topics will be discussed during the course of the general assembly.
The Society also realizes that an inevitable outcome of its function will be sponsorship of events featuring poets reading their poetry. As a direct result of the Society’s lectures and talks, such events will be attended, ostensibly, by an audience informed and familiar with the diverse art of poetry.
Further specifics regarding the Mission Statement (a work in progress) will be hammered out at successive monthly meetings of The New Black Bart Poetry Society. Below is a list of potential topics for discussion (Please note that these are merely proposed topics. All suggestions are welcome.)
- · Pop Renaissance – The New York School and its Adherents
- · Fixing What Ain’t Broke – Can Poets Change?
- · Left Out In The Rain – Towards A Classless Esthetic
- · Why Bother – The Polemical Poem
- · American Monoglot – Provincialism in American Poetry
- · I Is Another – The Poet As Cult of One
- · A Throw of the Dice – Mallarme’s Revolution
- · Picasso’s Roommate – The Definitiveness of Max Jacob’s Prose Poems
- · How Did I Get Here? – Modern Poetry and Its Discontents (ongoing series)
- · Putting A Positive Spin On The Negative — Poetry and Negative Capability
- · Should Poetry Be Decriminalized? – Pro and Con
- · The Only Good Poet Is A Dead Poet — Why Is That?
- · The Poetry Spectrum — From Cool Blue To Red Hot
- · Poetry, What Is It Good For? – Looking For An Answer
- · Poetry Professional — Oxymoron or Harbinger
- · Poetry Workshops – More Harm Than Good?
- · Poetics – Is it Just A Made Up Word?
- · A Poet’s Ego – Is There A Cure?
- · There Are No Bad Poems – Only Bad Poets
- · Bored To Death – The Deadly Art of Poetry
- · Cut Ups – The Cult Of Discontinuity
- · Provocation – Its Use And Place In Modern Poetry