Friday, July 2, 2010

Be Awesome and Do Dope Shit

In the interview I'm constantly having with myself in my head, one question I often ask is: What's my aesthetic? What the hell is it that my poetry does, that I try to do with it, that makes it interesting, different; or is it just the same-old-same-old?

The conclusion I've come to lately is that my aesthetic is: Be awesome and do dope shit. Arrogant? Yes. Pretentious? Maybe. Retarded? Definitely.

Some thoughts: Be awesome and do dope shit (BAADDS) is perhaps most closely related to the anit-lyric tradition of Spicer and co. By which I mean I am not interested in the mainstream lyric (though I do consider myself a lyric poet, or, short of that, am lyrical/draw on the lyric tradition).

I draw on the ridiculous but awesome shit me and my friends say to each other in person, email, over the phone, text, Facebook, Twitter, etc; conversations and emails from the office. To this end my poems can feel elliptical or associative. I want to surprise, but at the same time not necessarily be nonsensical. I want to make a different kind of sense. I want to entertain, be clever, imbue my work with novelty, but at the same time make something beautiful and that (hopefully) lasts. A kind of reverse idiocy (like Iggy Pop maybe).

(That last point is difficult because I have no control over that, so it may ultimately be just wishful thinking on my part. I touched on this, kind of, in an artist's statement I wrote for some poems I had in the Tusculum Review)

(I'm tempted to say that I want my poetry to sound cool, though that often invokes jazz and the beats, and that's not what I want).

In many respects, BAADDS is influenced as much, if not more, by pop music--specifically "indie" and "alternative" rock (god I love scare quotes)--and culture than it is by western literature. (THE BAADDS might make a cool name for a band.) The lyrics of Modest Mouse, The Pixies, Wolf Parade and many others have had enormous influence on me. Then of course there is the internet and social media, but really, who isn't influenced by that these days?

Others, off the top of my head, who might unwittingly be joining me in the BAADDS aesthetic: Sampson Starkweather, Paige Taggart, Dan Hoy.

Some of BAADDS' cousins might be: Elisa Gabbert, Chris Tonelli, Dan Boehl, Dan Magers

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Blogger Chris Tonelli said...

i think magers is totally baadds. what about boehl? i think i'm the opposite of baadds. which is not to say i oppose. i'm just a boring, uptight guy. and so are my poems. that's why i hang out with cooler people than me.

July 2, 2010 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Dan Boehl said...

July 3, 2010 at 12:35 AM  
Blogger Chris Tonelli said...

oh, and i think jon leon invented baadds.

July 4, 2010 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Poetry Bear said...

yeah, leon kind of did. but he seems more interested in portraying a kind of baadds lifestyle, maybe?

i don't know. i think he stopped writing though. he's doing some sort of 212 century rimbaud thing and going to business school, last i heard.

btw, i totally stole "be awesoem and do dope shit" from dan boehl. he was the one who actually coind the phrase.

July 6, 2010 at 6:52 AM  

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