Today, the most significant poetry, though not perhaps the best by older standards, is no longer created for the printed page. As in the days before the city and the alphabet, poetry has become once again an art of direct communication, one person speaking or singing directly to others. Along with this change has come, in the words of the poems themselves, a constant, relentless, thoroughgoing criticism of all the values of industrial, commercial civilization. Poetry today is people poetry as it was in tribal society and it performs the same function in a worldwide counterculture. It is the most important single factor in the unity of that counterculture and takes the place of ideologies and constitutions, even of religious principles. As such those whose lives are identified past recall with the older dominant culture certainly are justified in seeing it as profoundly subversive. Where is this poetry? It is in the lyrics of rock singers, protest singers, folk singers, and the singers of gathering places like the French cafés chantants now spread all over the world.
Friday, June 19, 2020