The Poet’s Place

We here at Gridley Fires have been grossly neglectful when it comes to presenting poetry. In an attempt to atone for that, we’ve asked the very talented poet, Jane Curran, to write something for the blog. As poets will do, she surprised us with the imaginative piece below. It’s not a poem, but it’s all about the power and precariousness of poets and their work.


Late breaking news headline from The Rush County (IN) Gazette:

Minor Poet Jailed. Poems confiscated.

A minor poet was arrested and jailed today, charged with writing poems described as seditionist with the intent of rousing townspeople to acts of justice and subversions of the dominant paradigm.

The poet was arraigned on three specific charges:

Her poems are real (cite the poem about an America with no people of color); disturbing (cite the poem about a dead child, beaten to death by her mother’s boyfriend); life-like (cite the poem about an old man whose daughter left him alone for four days without food or water).

At her hearing the poet pled guilty, citing precedents of samizdat* in the former Soviet Union where dissidents churned out poems of resistance against the grey horror of their time. The accused poet remarked, “The recipe is a tiny kitchen, a typewriter and oppression laced with injustice. Stew ingredients for too long and feast on the full force of rebellion.”

The accused further stated, “If I have written one line, one word worth such risk, I have fulfilled my calling to the art of poetry. In the past poets were jailed, sent to gulags or disappeared in the prisons of Argentina for a few lines of poetry that set their worlds on fire. They seared their oppressors, the big players with big money, and stood under indictment.”

The charges against this poet were thrown out for lack of evidence. This reporter thought she heard the judge say “lack of interest”.

The judge commented that “the idea that a poet is a danger to today’s society is laughable, if not ridiculous. This defendant exhibits no threat to our social order. Case dismissed.”

*a Russian word referring to self published books of poetry, philosophy or political writings,     typed five to six carbons thick for distribution underground


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