Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christianist Plot to Sell More Blasphemous Poetry

From the Guardian:

Christian activists are due to stage a protest outside the Welsh Assembly tomorrow over Patrick Jones's poetry collection Darkness Is Where the Stars Are, which they describe as "ugly, indecent and blasphemous". 

Seems Jones is scheduled to read some of his poems aloud in an Assembly building.  The activists object to the whole book, which includes "poems dealing with issues including domestic violence against men, war, religion and the environment," as well as atheism, female genitalia, and Dan Brown-inspired sex between Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Oh, they also object to the fact that the poems "hardly rhyme" and "rarely scan."  Well, that's enough for us; tar and feather the bastard.

But let's be reasonable here.  Have you ever heard of Patrick Jones?  Of course not.  And why?  Because he is a poet.  Poets, in our time, are essentially obscure figures, whose books typically sell not in the thousands but in the hundreds, most of those from the trunk of the poet's own car.  The exceptions -- William Stafford, Billy Collins, Charles Bukowski -- are few, and uninspiring.  Not only have living poets ceased to be major public figures, they are not even major literary figures.  (Parenthetically, we ask -- and not for the first time -- ou sont les Ezra Pounds d'antan?)

Except, of course, that now you have heard of Mr. Jones the poet.  So have a lot of Welsh poetry-lovers, who would not previously have attended his reading, but will now, in search of some street theater.  And when they cross a picket line, and when the reading is disrupted by belligerent "Christian" thugs, some people may buy his book not for love of the art, but as a form of counter-protest.  Why, some Egg readers may want to pick it up from Amazon UK for the same reason.

In other words, the protesters have granted him a modest measure of fame, and sold a few more of his apparently-blasphemous books.  

Which leads us to cry "Conspiracy."  Oh, call us cynics if you will, but we are always asking Cui bono?  And here's what we suspect:  Mr. Jones, or better yet his publisher, made a deal with these protesters.  Obscure Welsh Christianist organization meets obscure Welsh poet, and suddenly both are international causes celebres, at least for a day.  Everybody wins.

Except, of course, those of us who prefer poetry that does rhyme.

No comments: