Fellow citizens – remember that man in the moon
looking over at Earth, beautiful; breathtaking;
a glowing marble of blue oceans. But even he can now see
that poetry has been changing
in ways that will have profound impacts on all human poets.
12 of the longest poems in the history of our language
have been written in the past century. Last year
the automated re-use of words in some areas of poetry
reached record highs and the pool
of words considered unpoetic shrank to the smallest size on record
faster than most sociologists had predicted. These are facts.
Now we know that no single poem event is caused solely by climate change.
Haiku, epigrams, and sapphics, they go back to ancient times.
But we also know that in a world where there’s more words being used
than there used to be, all language events are affected by a planet ever
more robotic and garrulous. The fact that most of our poetry books
are a half-inch thinner than a century ago
didn’t cause books with titles like The Alphabet, Draft , Footnotes, Day
or Metropolis, but it certainly contributed to
to the shrinking that left large parts of our mightiest canon
feeling small and overshadowed.
The potential impacts go far beyond falling word levels. Here at home
2012 was the most silent year in our history. The plains were parched
by the longest sentence drought in its memory. Visual poems scorched
an area larger than Leaves of Grass. Only last week a conceptual poet
in nearby Alberta published a whole book made of 90s.
As a resident, as a father, and as a Poet I’m here to say we need to act.
My plan begins by cutting language pollution