This is of an offshoot of my pondering about the death of art. It’s a focused topic, and I won’t be too long on it.
It’s something that I’ve thought of on occasion, because it’s a topic close to my heart. It’s something that I think is fundamentally important to culture, and I wonder at its current scarcity, and the reason for it.
Despite any other flaws in past eras, poetry was eternally there. It was sonnets, it was ballads. In the Beat Generation, it was the currency of the post-war ennui. During the “Classic Rock” era, poetry was the backbone of popular music.
I don’t think it’s an “old man shouting at clouds” moment to say that most popular music today seems like anything but poetry. We exist in the swift current of beats and samples, a regurgitating whirlpool of soulless automation and autotune.
I know the dangers of perception and how it can mar our relationship to objective reality. Regardless, it seems to me that poetry is becoming more rare. At the very least, it seems that there’s no space for appreciation of it.
So I begin to wonder.
I wonder if poetry is dying because of social media. These finely crafted lines that so many work so hard to vomit into Twitter threads and miniature political stands on Instagram could be turned into art. But art needs fire to be forged.
Instead of a fire we have a billion individual embers twisting in the ether. We have too much distraction for potential poets to focus.
And so all these potential poems are lost, and these artists never form. Or they may be laying in wait to awaken, deep inside a generation that will grow beyond the addictive fascination of social media and its cheap valve for dribbling half-art into the void.
I just hope they don’t take too long to wake.