Waking in the Long Slumber of Winter
by D. Garcia Wahl
On my desk there sits the Shady Dealings column I wrote. It was all prepared to send off to our illustrious editor. It was full of the bite and head shaking that you have come to expect from Shady Dealings over the course of these past years. But a volley of letters I suddenly received put a stop to my sending that column off. For whatever reason, several people chose to write to me with very similar letters. One that was brief, yet echoed the sentiments of the others, read:
Hello Dylan, how are you my friend?
A quick note - poetry is dead! I'm [omitted] and am losing faith. What can we do to revitalize poetry, back to its roots and purpose?
In self-reflection I had to ask the question, isn't this what I've been addressing? It did not take long for me to arrive at an answer—no. Yes, Shady Dealings pokes fun and ridicules what I deem to be detrimental to the state of poetry, but what solutions do I offer? Little to none. And as far as poetry being dead, I've never liked to think of it that way. Instead I chose to believe it was merely playing dead. But after years of poking it with a stick, even my optimism fades.
So what is to be done? Obviously we look with great hope and open hearts to our poet laureate. Oh wait, Bly would only take the position if he didn't have to do anything. How convenient. And how absolutely apropos of the state some see poetry as being in. Robert Bly is a reflection of that state. Shame on him.
But shame on me too for using too much print space over time telling Bly to go fuck himself when I wasn't doing all I could. That changes here.
My contribution to a revitalization project comes in the form of the Minnesota Poetry Collective. The letters I received brought forth the storm. This is the first result.
The MPC is an all-inclusive resource for the poets of Minnesota as well as a launching pad for the progression of poetry in Minnesota. What is needed for poetry and poets in this state is included in the actions of the MPC:
1. the holding of bi-monthly meetings wherein the needs of poets can be addressed and ideas can be furthered.
2. volunteered poetry programs set up in the school systems with a primary emphasis on schools at the elementary level.
3. a supportive poet to publication house and book store link.
4. a website that will promote the works, books, and readings of Minnesota poets and provide resource links for both new and well seasoned poets.
5. a monthly reading series.
It's a beginning. It's an infancy. One more element does need to be applied and it is, perhaps, the most important element—every resource offered by the MPC must be FREE. Yes, free. I don't know anyone getting rich off their poetry. In fact, I don't know anyone making a living off their poetry. So, how can we charge fees? Isn't one of the most needed resources for poets that of free resources? Are you listening Loft?
For those who wrote me letters, for those Minnesotan poets, and for those who wish to advance poetry, I suggest we begin. mnpoetrycollective.com will be a modest start that I personally dedicate to the inactivity of our poet laureate, Robert Bly.
I thank you readers for permitting this departure of the column. Next issue I assure you I will return to my usual "bite the hand that nauseates me" mentality.