Thursday, May 7, 2009
Writing about WALKING IS TRANSPORTATION (WIT) in last Thursday's Staten Island Advance, reporter Tevah Platt commented on this blog's un-blogginess, observing that WIT "lacks the introspective palaver that, for some, is synonymous with blogging."
Platt's comment surprised me. At first, my thin-skinned defensiveness kicked in. Was this a rebuke? A backhanded compliment? Both? Neither? Quickly, I examined the many blogs available for perusal on the homepage of Typepad®, the software I'm using to set down what you're reading.
What I saw on those blogs showed me Platt was right. Though it seems to me my voice is quite audible in these 'pages' (when o when will I find a substitute for print-talk that feels natural?), I'm not comfortable becoming too public about what's personal.
It's not that I'm afraid to reveal the character flaws, epic blunders and dark impulses we all have. It's that, beyond the individual particulars, they're just like yours and everybody else's. Does anyone really crave another installment?
Sampling some of those Typepad® blogs, I felt uncomfortable knowing so much about people I don't know. But there's another reason I see no reason to tell all.
As a young poet, I witnessed firsthand the controversy over what was derided--in my opinion, justifiably--as the confessional fashion in poetry, which many thought had been ushered in by Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton, leading poets of the post-World War II generation.
This controversy was one that I and most poets I knew felt we had at least to consider in thinking about our own work. I think it forced us to learn how to fashion some sort of balance on the page, where what you reveal you reveal in the service of some larger idea or point. One that has a universality beyond the less than lovely impulses and behavior that are part of being human.