This prose-poem was "fun" for me to write. May some readers here enjoy my fun.-Ron Price, Tasmania
POETRY OF THE WORLD AND THE WORD
Poetry is a way of waking up to the very life we're living, so that this life can act of its own accord. Postmodernism is a way of bringing material previously excluded from poetry-the political, ethical, historical, philosophical-back into poetry's domain. Narrative and the didactic, verse and prose are all accommodated in this new form. Poetry includes both the world and the word. Each poem is but an episode in one great poem of one great mind, going back to the beginning of life. The context for this new form of poetry, this exercise in poetic postmodernism, is a paradoxical and contradictory reality involving both the extinction of poetry as a cultural force in our time on the one hand; and a burgeoning of poetic expression on the other, expression that is intimate, fragmented, self-analytical, open, emotional, interconnected and interrelated with all of life and, therefore, unending. The poet, like the physicist and the philosopher, is the priest of the invisible. Part of the poet's aim is to help people live.*
-Ron Price with thanks to Marjorie Perloff, The Dance of the Intellect: Studies in the Poetry of the Pound Tradition, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Illinois, 1985.
In the forward from Perloff above I am trying to define the type of poetry I write.
The poem below is an example of the type of poetry I have defined above.
With the birth of Shaykh Ahmad1
a whole new world opened up for
poets. And now, in these new days
of Poundian influence, Poundian
tradition,2 a postmodernism3 has
given me a fresh multicoloured,
multidisciplinary world to paint,
one coinciding with, it would seem,
'Abdu'l-Baha's freedom from prison
and his historic trip, of proportions
heroic, unparalleled in the first century,4
to the West, the Guardian's immensely
creative and exhausting days and now
this fully institutionalized charisma.5
3 November 1998
1 From the death of Alexander Pope in 1744 until the present date the essential subject matter of poetry has been the subjective nature of the poet, an inward turning. Before this time the subject matter was the actions and characters of men other than the poet. Shaykh Ahmad was born nine years after the death of Pope. (ibid., p.174)
2 Pound's first book of poetry was published in 1908, the year 'Abdu'l-Baha was freed from prison.
3 Postmodernism and modernism are terms employed variously by modern poets, writers, sociologists, philosophers and culture critics. I employ the term modernism to the period of the life of the Bab and Baha'u'llah(1817-1892); the term postmodernism to the period beginning with the ministry of 'Abdu'l-Baha and continuing up to the present.(1892-1998).
4 1844-1944: the first Baha'i century.
5 Max Weber's term, from his sociology of religion written in the second decade of the twentieth century, which applied to Baha'i institutional development is synonymous with the Universal House of Justice(1963-1998).