“Mainstream poetry”

Kasey Silem Mohammad:

So what would it mean for poetry to be truly mainstream? It would have to be aggressively public, perhaps–distributed via mass mailing or spam messages, say. It would have to be as shameless as television in its bid to engage new readers, and even, potentially, make money. Imagine that: poetry that made money. Do you feel a bristling in your blood at the hint of sacrilege? What shall I do with all the money my new, Mainstream poetry is going to make…? After I pay off my student loans and credit card debts, maybe I’ll finance a series of poetry billboards that respond electronically to the radio signals from passing cars and compose digital aleatory compositions designed to influence the way people shop for fabric. Maybe I’ll fund a political party whose platform involves the legalization of plagiarism. Maybe I’ll pay some high school kids to translate the Iliad homophonically and have homeless people read the results on cable access TV. Although it would make more sense to pay the homeless people, wouldn’t it? You see how anarchically irrational and unfair poetry in the real world would be!

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