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The Blog Bog

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Table of Contents

Matthew Paris

The Blog Bog four

Trawling though blogs written by poets can be an arduous affair.

One reason for frustration is that one of the sites that collects some of themm, Feedspot, puts a brazen advertisement for subscribing to it itself on every page of the blogs. One can only remove by going backwards to the previous pages to get rid of. This is usually the tactic of malware. Why Feedspot might tank that is acceptable for either poets or readers is beyond me.

I think only gulls or very desperate people who don't see they are being used have blogs on this site.

There are several companies I would reccomend: Wordpress, Joomla or Dropal to poets and non-poets who think they want a blog. One should look at these home sites. They don't come from any poetry world; they are the site makers who put stores, restaurants and such on line.

They charge four dollars a month. It's cheaper than paying to get a domain name; it avoids the labor of building one's own site with Dreamweaver. These enterprises might be indifferent but they are techies who don't have contempt for their clients. One might think poets have had enough contempt to last them a long time if that is their response of choice from the world. I did read through some of the blogs on Feedspot laboriously sentence by sentence, scrolling down over its own ad that like a bad smell can't be deleted. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that most of these poets are hooked into the media by crazy glue.

Their causes are almost always au courant matters that one way or another are not going to change or influence anybody or anything. Some offer confession. In this time one has to confess some very exotic tastes to be even mildly interesting as an eccentric. Sadly one might describe many causes of the 20th century as either trivial or a direction in life only five earnest zealots want.

It does marginalize both one and poetry itself either to embrace or assault any of these syncretic zircon hubs of supposed popular interest. Song of a gun, that's why they're there. The best blog I've read this month is by Curt Schilling, the former Boston Red Sox pitcher. He's also been on the tubes but was kicked off for being politically incorrect.

His blog is well written; his style is almost certainly the way he talks and thinks. Athletes at the top are driven people who are usually very opinionated in an independent way. Very often since they live with pain their whole lives from working as hard as they do to be as good as they are, the contract of anguish with their own bodies sets them apart.

When people savor any sports on television they are rarely aware that everyone they are watching has made a covenant to live with pain for the rest of their lives. Nobody publicly says so; nobody wants to know. Of course baseball isn't as hard on the flesh as basketball, football, boxing or ice hockey; still I'm sure Schilling is going to have a sore elbow until he expires. It makes athletes like Schilling skeptical and feisty in a way poets and all authors should be. As he says, he's ready to scuffle with anyone. That's generous.

Schilling's basic message superficially sometimes is a negative critique he offers on most ideas and actions of the Left. He isn't a Right winger either. Whether he is or isn't is not the real interest in Schillng's blog. His constant reference is to his own observable experience. He does this with a goodnatured charm.

I have a different take on the Left that Schilling does. One should always ask after one has noted the warts in any group or situation what the alternatives might have been. The Right after all has brought us slavery, the factory town, imperialism, genocides, racism, colonialism and general contempt for humanity. Those lethal directions in my view can't be good.

The real implication if one accepts that self evident verity about the Right should be that one should accept the lesser of two scoundrels but that maybe there might be a third way to take one's politics.

One might ask: who does represent one? Sometimes one doesn't even represent oneself. That, mon vieux, is the triumph of any fascism.

Schilling's blog does provide an inductive take on the Left that is worth reading if one might not reject Left causes as Schilling often does. Most significantly Schilling's opinions all come from his life. They aren't bellicose notions either. He's willing to talk it over.

People who have Left ideals but are somewhat critical of its executions lately can find Schilling's caveats as points of departure to refocus, reform and change. Schilling is not a severe dualist nor one who sees anybody or anything as perverse, criminal or satanic.

Politicians and priests can be like that; athletes can't be like that. They know fierce observation and analysis of ritual life and death situations is what has made them what they are. Sex, violence and sports are always level fields of action. Even for the worst of reasons athletes and generals always respect their opponents.

Moving from Schilling back to the poets blogs, it's very striking that the poets' ones I read are often party line effusions rather than opinions flushed through their observations. None of them seem to think as well as Schilling. Maybe a good schooling for poets should be pitching for the Boston Red Sox.

The most interesting of these collected blogs was one attempting to offer the values of poetry to convicts in Washington DC prisons. This is a movement that I know from a late and great New York poet, Richard Bartee, has its ceraceous in activist Afro-American church groups.

Prison like being a poet does make one rethink everything from scratch. Since most of our convicts haven't committed any crime that might make some people uncomfortable. At least those of us out of the slammer don't have to worry since 1932 we will do jail time for sipping or selling a glass of beer. There was also in this collection an amusing and well written blog noting both the public assumptions or an absence of any about Koreans. I thought, lack of a cartoon image that coarsens our sense of anybody might be a virtue. Trawling the poets' blogs on Feedspot I thought of making a short list of how the authors of them didn't even represent themselves. Here it is.

1. Provinciality. We are whether we like it or not living in the United States. If we look out the window we are looking at this country. If we don't know where we are we might not know who we are either.

2. A sardonic assessment of the various causes wafted by the media that make no difference whether they are won or lost.

3. Jingoistic blindness to the flaws in oneself or others one embraces in some way.

4. Not getting too close to the shibboleths of fashion. 5. Avoiding piety. I suppose I could think of others. If we elude these lairs we might not write great poetry; at least we have a better shot at being ourselves and not writing trash.