Pop poetry is news. Today we interview poet Bruce Dale Wise, who isn’t specifically a pop poet– though he tells us he’s been writing pop poems, as well as other forms, for years. Bruce is kind of a one-man poem factory. Not surprisingly, he includes poems in his answers.
NEW POP LIT: You’ve said the 1950’s was not the peak period of American poetry. In your opinion, what period was?
BRUCE DALE WISE: I’m absolutely sure American poetry has not reached its peak yet. I think American poetry will go beyond all that it has achieved.
Though there are good poems and poets from every period, and each era has good qualities that the others lack, I lean to our time, the New Millennial period; the Internet has opened up the possibilities of American poetry, and I think it is exciting to be writing right now.
NPL: In what ways is your poetry classical? In what ways is it postmodern?
BDW: It’s classical in that I download ancients, like antanaclasis, am ironic, have epithets will unravel, use synecdoche, symbol and simile, employ metonymy, metaphor, and metre, weigh syllables, and like rhyme.
It’s Postmodern in that I intertext, like retro, am playful, have multiple identities, am hyperreal, and like the royal nonesuch.
NPL: Please give capsule comments of any or all of the following:
-Edgar Allan Poe
psycho-dark, trochaic crow
balladeer in headlights
diehard yawper, selfie-unleashed
On the Mediocre Manifestations of Robert Lowell
for G. M. H. Thomson
The poetry of Robert Lowell would better serve as planks
in whalers or for firewood for stern New England Yanks.
That grand inquisitor of narcissism left his curse
of wooden, Puritannical, rhetoric’lly-stiff verse.
Lord Weary’s Castle is so ti-rrr-ing it wears one down;
its Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket bores one to the ground.
If Frost had been a piece of cardboard soaked in turpentine
for seventy long years, he’d have become a Lowell twine.
L. Bogan nailed his style—high-pitched, Baroque intensity—
a cross between Donne’s Metafizz and Melville’s density.
languishing, anguishing, hang out the washing, wishing machine
Another Literary (Bowel) Movement
“No poet…has his complete meaning alone.”
—T. S. Eliot, Tradition and Individual Talent
If flarf is only so much avante-garde rehashed,
a cutting up of texts, bizarre trajectories,
then it is nothing more than bloviating, mashed-
montage junkspeech, a splash of crushing nectarines.
If flarf is only so much fluff without dream’s stuff,
its reject glories but reshuffled errancies,
a googol Google-goggles gone up in a guff,
then it’s damn yadda dada data dayadhvam.
If flarf is only one technique, a stylized puff,
a sweep of e. e. cummings going o’er the dam
of jetsam/flotsam/get-some/got-some crashflash smashed,
without tradition, it is individu’l spam.
scop shop (pronounced shope shop)
Poetic slams are all the rage. The people rise
up, yes, to let it all out—Pentacostally.
Perhaps they grab a mike with fire in their eyes,
and then proceed t’ orate, o, so passionately.
Like lovers giving lovers kisses, they begin
to let fly words. A hundred at a time, words flee
from out round mouths, o, hundreds at a time they spin.
And then it all starts to add up to thousands, yow,
so that one cannot count them all in such a din.
They go at it, like wolves out in the night—and howl—
intoxicated, soaring on linguistic cries
and verbal acrobatics, slamming, whamming, zow.
-poetry in the academy
NPL: Who is the best current American poet, in your opinion?
BDW: I sure as hell am trying to do my best, but as for best…
America is chock-a-block with poets; there are millions; and you can learn something from nearly all of ’em, even if it’s learning what not to do.
NPL: How do you view the future of American poetry?
BDW: Jetsonic, like the Jetsons, out there—boldly going where no one has gone before—at warp speed.
(For more Bruce Dale Wise poetry see our Four Poems feature on Bruce.)