Some people don’t “get” poetry because they’re exclusively visual thinkers. For many others of a more practical frame of mind, the seemingly arbitrary arrangement of words into lines, stanzas, and units of meaning constitutes the main stumbling-block. Debates about how to reach those kinds of folks are anything but academic if you’re on a committee charged with selecting and presenting poetry to an indifferent public.
Well, I’m here to help. I’ve taken the complete texts of the first ten poems in my Public Poems series and run them through Wordle (thanks, John) which discards the most common words (a, on, the, etc.) and puts all the others into a configurable word cloud, a variation on the tag clouds familiar to anyone who spends an appreciable amount of time online. I then made an audio recording of the cloud (here’s a download link for those who can’t see the Flash player above). This sort of thing could be broadcast over a public address system at regular intervals wherever the poetry clouds are displayed, with results perhaps comparable to the well-known consequences of backmasking on vinyl records of heavy metal music back in the 1980s, only without the sacrifices of family pets. From these dense clouds a kind of condensation would take place, poetry falling like rain on the parched soil of the imagination. Or not.
Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).