April 17, 2007

Professional Tastes

It's only on the days when I have meetings scheduled with my editor that my computer completely blows up, shuts down, loses my formatting, and scares me. Today I spent hours with my backup copies, sweating heavily, trying to figure out what went wrong, only to lift my head on quite a vigorous debate in the blogs. Professional reviewers, it seems, feel infringed upon by the peanut gallery known as bloggers, who swoon over authors like celebrities, reporting rapturously on their sightings, and who popularize books by word-of-mouth.

Bloggers seem to be, in a word, fans. Fans of books, fans of literature for young adults and children, fans of certain works. Recent discussion has left me wondering if it's not the 'fandom' aspect of YA/children's book blogging that has some people upset, but the hierarchy, and the idea that we are not to talk about something that no one has sanctioned us to mention.

I find that idea very odd. When I'm enthused about something, I don't generally let unwritten protocol stop me from saying so, and I very much doubt that the people whose sour generalizations began this discussion would let that stop them either.


Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

- Robert Hayden

I love this poem. I encountered it in high school, during a test, and secreted it on a slip of paper, until I could take it home and transcribe it in my journal. I hadn't always liked my father, but I knew that he worked hard for us, and the poem was a type of perspective that I needed to mull over in my mind. I'd never thought of it -- or him -- in that way.

Now, linguistic Professionals have assessed this poem; Professionals who Know Poetry. Some of those Professionals were the ones who introduced me to the poem, and for a grade, they wished for me to express my opinion on this piece. They expected me, as a student, to comment within what I had learned from them, and I did. However, I'm glad the 'blogosphere' exists so that I can express my opinion in different, perhaps more creative terms. On my blog, I can talk about this poem in any way I choose.

You don't have to like this poem.
No one is paying me to say that I like it.
I consider it a waste of time to discuss poems that I don't like.
I just thought I'd share a poem that I love.

Thanks for reading my National Poetry Month selection. If, at some point, you read any of my book reviews, I hope you find the books that I like likable as well... or not. In any case, I'm glad you visited our blog...

1 comment:

David T. Macknet said...

What strikes me as particularly sad is that Roger seems not to like the idea of authors participating in the blog world. Now, tell me if I'm wrong (you two authors who write this blog), but wouldn't you be lonely without friends? And the people you've met through this blog: friends?

It's a cruel world, Roger desires.

Authors need never feel isolated in this one. Although they do, I'm certain, even now.