There are many different things that define the importance of poetry, but in
the context that we've been discussing it now, it is probably its
readership. To slightly abstract what you're saying, Tom, we can recognise
two opposite forces. On the one hand that of the poem's potential audience,
and on the other the poem's actual audience. We were discussing language, so
in this case this means that one the one hand we see that the English
language probably has the largest potential audience. The question that
remains is whether that largest potential audience is also realised as the
largest possible audience. Now Tom here is suggesting that whether or not
the answer is "no", he preceives a shift towards the "no" side.
I think there are two important factors to recognise that follow rather
obviously from the above. On the one hand, a poem in a local language will
have a very hard time directly having an influence on a global scale. On the
other hand, the limits, especially in poetry, to communicate as profoundly
to its reader in a second or third language will at least in theory always
favour the local language.
But language isn't the only important factor in poetry; just like politics
aren't (always) about the most charming politician or the best oiled
publicity machine, poetry can also be about issues. To win a reader over,
however, these issues then also have to match the interests of the reader.
Now if I invent a language together with a very close friend, and then we
write love-poems to each other in that language, you may be sure that to us,
this form of highly localised poetry will be very important (not saying that
this is fact, but it's an interesting idea should I ever find somebody crazy
On the complete opposite side, you could be primarily interested in the
concept that you're sharing one planet with 5-6 billion other people who are
all fundamentally very similar to you (easy to gloss over that .1 percent of
genetic differences ...), and you want to learn how humanity is coping as a
Millions of less extreme examples can be given. From a country about to
introduce the Euro (less than 7 months now) and highly in favour of European
integration and globalisation in general, you'll both see an interest in
globalised issues (English language poetry, or translated poetry) as in
local issues (and languages), as exploration of self-identity in a new
environment are important aspects of integration (I expect the UK to exhibit
more of these symptoms in the next four years).
It remains hard to draw any conclusions however - growing importance of
local poetry can also be a means for globalisation to take place, if this
local poetry reaches a large international audience; because then it
furthers integration by the different local groups getting to know and
influencing each other better.
So, if we want to know, we have to look for answers to the following
How is the ratio between published English language poetry (ELP) and local
poetry (LP) developing?
How is the ratio between readership of ELP and LP developing?
How is the ratio between local issues and global issues in both ELP and LP
Anyone happen to need a thesis statement? ;-)
> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
> Van: [log in to unmask]
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]Namens Tom Gray
> Verzonden: zondag 10 juni 2001 13:44
> Aan: [log in to unmask]
> Onderwerp: Re: poetry collections
> I know that this is a troll but I'll reply anyway.
> From the sociologists that I work with I have learned
> the concept of 'glocalization.' There are three
> primary modes of governance - the market, the polity
> (i.e. the coercive power of the state) and society
> (i.e. local culture). As the polity or state loses
> power in the face of market gobablization there is a
> response from the individual to counterpoise the power
> of his local culture or society.
> Local cultures and languages become of great
> importance. The globalization of English in the market
> is being matched by glocalization of local languages
> and cultures.
> The US seems to be one of the few places in the world
> that does not seem to be being affected by this.
> Certainly in Europe the nation state is fading away
> into a global/glocal system.
> Canada where I live is far down this path. The
> national government has lost the battle of legitimacy
> to the provincial governments However the process
> continues and indeed even the nationalist government
> in Quebec and the governments of other provinces are
> starting to experience the same thing within their own
> Ten years from now there will certainly be a political
> entity called Canada but it will just be an
> amalgamation of a great many political entities of
> differing sizes and capacities. Each will be
> singularly concerned with its local culture but all
> will be united by a common market.
> So poetry in local languages is becoming of greater
> and not lesser importance.
> [log in to unmask] wrote:
> > In a message dated 06/09/2001 8:44:32 PM Eastern
> > Daylight Time, [log in to unmask]
> > writes:
> > > Most of the world's great literature will always
> > be in
> > > a foreign language.
> > >
> > Most of the world's greatest modernist literature
> > was written in English.
> > TSE wrote in English. Wallace Stevens (the author
> > of my favorite poem) wrote
> > in English. And anything not written in English
> > isn't that important. Not
> > anymore, anyway.
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