Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why)

Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why) is the title of a poem by Ms. Nikki Giovanni. Actually, I accidentally came across the review of the poem here, which I thought was very harsh and I also thought that the reviewer was unnecessarily critical of the lady. So I had to read the poem to judge the fairness of the criticisms. I hate reading poems, because unless you have a good teacher to explain in simple English the Poet’s idea, poems can give you head aches. Further, poems give the aura of cleverness to poets and I become a dumb idiot in my own eyes for my inability to understand the poems. Who likes the feeling of being dumb, you tell me. So I hate poems. I digressed. You can read the poem here. The poem did not make much sense to me. But the following funky lines I liked, because I instantly understood them, of course, not exactly in the context in which the poet would have liked the reader to have understood them. Well, they are good because you can have your own private understanding of them.

I am so hip, even my errors are correct

I am so perfect, so divine, so ethereal, so surreal I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

Even though I did not understand the poem I thought the review in question was worse than the poem. I feel weird and strange being so presumptious. Criticising the review of a poem eventhough one has neither liked it nor understood it. This is what the reviewer writes about the poem

....the lack of punctuation for no real reason, the clich├ęs weakly masked by NG’s trying to fob this off as being from the POV of a child, the poor music, reasonless capitalization (& its lack), meaningless enjambment, etc

In one word you can say that reviewer has problem with the form of the poem. Can proper punctuation, capitalization make a great poem? Its a substance vs. form question. Of course the answer is not simple. You can argue for both. But keeping the lines from the review in mind I would ask whether its enough if the form is good? Without taking in to account the substance of the matter if it is rejected based only on form, well, I would say its one-sided, biased, unfair. Its like rejecting a girl for wearing lavender makeup with black nail polish (1), isn't it?

(1) That's what one of the reviewers did for Aisha. I would not have disliked the movie if they had not promoted it as an adaptation of Emma. As an adaptation it is a dud, complete failure. But as a chick flick, I guess, it should get its fair share of applause. Indian audience have accepted films like Kal Ho Na, Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gam, then why not Aisha? I guess, only Javed Akthar was able to get the spirit of Emma with his lyrics for the title song.

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