Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Western Michigan Poets POP



I recently started reviewing books and chapbooks for the HFR blog, one done so far and several to go! As I was reading Roy Seeger's chapbook, A Garden of Improbable Birds, I was struck by how much I enjoyed his poems featuring John Travolta and Lon Cheney. These were not comic poems, the pop icons were translated into symbols in the poems that really opened up something for the speaker. It was pretty cool. I had recently run into another Kalamazoo guy at AWP, Cody Todd, who also has a chapbook out, To Frankenstein, My Father. And another fellow Western Michigan Prague Summer Program attendee, was featured in HFR #42 for a poem entitled, "Gorbechev's Houseboat."

Maybe that's not a very significant trend, but I've got my eye on these guys.

So my question is, what is useful about pop icons? Dracula, Chocula, Lou Ferrigno, Billy Joel, Tanya Harding, Kelly Clarkson, Miley (sigh for contributing in any way to the continuation of her name in the metasphere) Cyrus? The fact that they are popular, even hugely popular, I think says that people connect to them. They see something of themselves in these people or their personas. And then they just become huge off the two mirrors held facing each other refractivity of fame. But in any case, just like other cultural icons, they say something larger than a moment in time, but anchored in a moment in time. And that can become something very personal for an individual, these larger narratives.

Ah, my Kelly Clarkson poem is calling me...