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Un Magazine 4.2

What I want from poetry

Robert Cook (with edit and embellishments by Ken Bolton)

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12/23

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Note:
I felt queasy. About my free associating memories, ideas, and fantasies and their word form. I’m like gonna make like a poet, now? Without irony, even? Without even, irony? Without, even, irony? Seemed so. So I asked the poet Ken Bolton for comment. In his words: ‘I got involved’. In his other words: ‘I just threw myself in & intervened whenever I felt the energy was lagging or the voice was for too long the same’. While ‘shorter is always better’ is often true, it’s not always the end you need to cut from. But I was putting in sense because I wasn’t giving the text enough time to fill me in (impatience!). And I was writing as if from the position of some blend of Jerry Lewis & Ted Berrigan (see his poems ‘Bean Spasms’ & ‘Tambourine Life’). Ken was on the money. The words I sent him were dreamy, tending to the mordant, the monotone, the self-satisfied. Ken ‘intervened’ for me quickly and in the last few days before heading off for a long trip. I really appreciate his generosity. I learned a lot about poetic form and meaning from his edits. Still, like I said, he didn’t have heaps of time and all the flat, boring bits remain mine (and I’m not just being self-deprecating here as I learned a bit about how unvaried my writing can be — a neat lesson).