The Poetry of the 21st Century


I’m trying to invent a poetry for the 21st Century… experimental, but still attuned to the echoes of all those ancient poetic traditions that have informed our best work and should be carried over into anything truly new.

I contemplate sort of posthuman Milton with Lovecraftian cosmism mixed in for special effects… I’ve actually been thinking of a mock epic in parody of Milton’s grand Paradise Lost but framed within current posthuman and transhuman NBIC and ICT theoretic… a sort of biotech meets a darker mutation of the older Greek and Jewish ethos, both Tragic and Justice… an ironic tale told not by humans, but by a robot or enhanced poet in elegy and lamentation at the extinction of the last of our species… something like James Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover which took W.B. Yeats framework and pomo’d it into the late strangeness of a Ouija board dialogue with dead poets and dark angels, etc. But instead of a Ouija board I see a constant chattering monologue within this immortal’s brain in the tradition of Robert Browning… more in the Poe macabre and grotesque universe with the added feature sets of a High Heavy Metal musical comedy…

Most poets have given up on epic as a grand narrative… but to me the lyric has two options left, personal or impersonal truth of our emotional lives… but most of it has been done. What I seek is something more expansive, the epic frame of comic intelligence, an Aristophanean galaxy of comic parody and critique bounded and framed by the contours of ancient Epic battles of tragic heroism and the ethical judgments of the Biblical prophets… yet, within a more equitable and ironic universe of posthuman / transhuman comedy of Shakespearean plenitude…

I have to admit the figure of absolute evil has been with us probably since humans first contemplated death… is not the escape from life that Norman O. Brown and Ernest Becker in their psychological mixture of Freud and anthropology, the riches in the mud or gold, the power of the mind to shape both ethical and tragic worlds to imagine the contours of this monstrous existence that we in our limited finitude have yet to fully understand? I see a vast cosmic intelligence, one that from the beginning has been with us, the dark power that harbors so much hate… in figure only, not literally; for none of us know what is the shape of time and infinity, we imagine, that is our nature… yet, each poet takes from the great prophetic literature of all the races the elements of a universal vision, a sort of wandering meaning that seems from generation to generation in need of renewal, a reinscription of its basic motifs and leitmotifs into the current cultural matrix if you will. Without this renewal of the ancient myths we would all be so much more powerless to confront the unknown, the forces that seek to destroy us and make of us something other than what we are…


7 thoughts on “The Poetry of the 21st Century

  1. Many thanks for dropping by my photo blog. It is much appreciated. 🙂

    When considering poetry in the 21st century, we must also take in the medium of delivery. Each form of Mass Media has its own set of codes and conventions which shape the message it its own way.

    One trend, which relates to rap, is oral expression – poetry jam. It is a reaction to digital text expression of poetry.

    Digital text opens up poetry to new poetic forms, which can incorporate images, audio, video and hyper-text. It also works very well with prose poems & haibun because of the added layers of inter-connected messages & forms.
    I have explored some of this on the photo-blog for a while now; I recently started my Implied Spaces blog to really experiment while using the concept of implied space as the connective theme.


    • Oh, true, this wasn’t but a blip on the screen, not a full report on poetry in the 21st Century… there’s a ton of stuff out there 🙂

      Yea, thanks for dropping by and the ideas! I’ll need to check out your two blogs see what your up too. Yea, I’m doing certain things for specific projects, but may also do more experimentation in the future.


    • Of course a lot of the textual experiments come out of early modernist experiments as well. Oulipo, and others did a lot of this before obviously the web came along. So it’s nice to be able to incorporate photo shop, synth music, different text types, placements, etc. I’ve done a lot of blues and jazz compositions so am versed in this type. Have a thorough knowledge of poetic, rhetorical, and philosophical principles and aesthetics as well. Long years of study slowly coming too fruition… I was a Software Architect and Engineer which took up a lot of my life… so have retired and now back into my love of art, philosophy, poetry, etc.


  2. I’ve seen such a variety in poetry from the standard rhyming I grew up with. Subjects cover issues that were once taboo.
    Thank you for visiting and following my blog. I am a writer not a poet, but I have discovered a love of poetry I never knew I had.


  3. Pingback: The Poetics of Continuous Partial Attention | Conflated Automatons

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