Page 1 of 2
David Bates
Emotional Vaudeville & Intellectual Terrorism: Notes on a Next Poetics
               The “poem” is merely a natural excretion of the poet. The POET is the creature.

crea’ture, n. animal, esp. a nonhuman. 2.anything created, whether animate or inanimate. 3.person; human being. 5.a person whose position or fortune is owed to someone or something and who continues under the control or influence of that person or thing. 6.intoxicating liquor, esp. whiskey.
One does not acquire the role of the poet– one takes possession of it. It is a conscious, deliberate, calculated decision. Poetry as lifestyle– of which the poem is but one of its many expressions.
When we speak of Rimbaud “the poet”, we’re speaking of a boy aged 16 - 19. Rimbaud, the man, wrote no poems, and surrendered his living role as/of poet; he decided to stop– Therefore, it only follows that the Next Poet will DECIDE to begin, DECIDE to continue, and – if s/he must– DECIDE to stop. This is the ultimate lesson of Rimbaud. The poet’s will is the prime-mover. Structure, Style, Form, and Content are determined by, and answerable to, this will– and success or alleged success on any public level is merely coincidental.. the audience, after all, has its own will.
Line of Departure
only that which is the poet will become the poem. Stagnation in the poet will bear stagnant poems. Sentimentality and dogmatic tradition beget bumper-sticker philosophy and sub-genuine imitation. Upheaval of structure, style, form, content in the poem must have as its line of departure the upheaval of the poet. This upheaval in the poet ought not be the consequence of victimization or influence, however– tho events beyond our control certainly beat our every path. The poet must participate in his/her own upheaval– for the process will, ultimately, be a significant part of the whole itself– blasting a new light perhaps upon all that will eventually become the poem. It MUST be a will to power.
The Next Poet will employ a sort of intellectual & emotional terrorism in his/her poems. Even the seemingly benign images and ideas will have clandestine razor edges designed to shred modern illusions to bits. No single poem shall be free from danger.
While not absent of religion or science, poetry is neither– for it is the culmination of both logic and mysticism– it is the 3rd axis which does not rest upon or balance this current failed dichotomy– but scatters it once and for all.
The Next Poet is impatient from boredom, frustrated to the point of desperation. Emotional response is at once sacred and criminal– its rashness seemingly best contained in the poem / but the poem is not enough... the hurlyburly refuses to be patronized. A single determined housefly can send the Next Poet into a fit of madness.
     The words-on-the-paper are only dead trees and squid-piss. The poem’s canvas is the reader’s mind. Unlike the blank paper however, the reader’s mind is already cluttered, aesthetically or otherwise– and the poem will have to either be invited into a space big enough to accommodate it – contract and then expand if the space provided proves too small– or actually do battle: destroy or erase... without, of course, being tossed away by the reader before its task is complete.
      The notion that the reader comes to the poem and not visa versa – random poems do not walk the streets leaping into peoples minds– books do not stalk the reader and force their contents upon him/her.  True that the reader must arrive at the poem and invite it in. HOWEVER it is the right of the poem to now wage a sort of warfare in the landscape of the reader’s mind.
      That a poem, invited as it is, must act as polite-guest in debt to the generosity of its host is absurd; such a notion is an intellectual pornography. Poetry is not the Muzak of literature– on the contrary– poetry is literature’s fiend-dog that gnaws the crotch and humps the leg– attacking to shreds anything from ordinary household objects, to small overly-curious children.
      To glom on, squeeze in, or blend seamlessly w/the muck of the reader’s mind is to have wasted the action or potential of poetic creation.